Searching (2018) Review


This is a film where the title is a very fair way to know the premise immediately. The whole film is a pretty big search after all and it uses some pretty interesting tactics such as how all of the scenes are filmed. It’s the kind of thriller that won’t offer as much replay value since it’s a movie where you are most engaged the first time around since you have no clue what is about to happen. If you’re up for a tense flick then this should be up your ally.

The movie starts by introducing us to David and his daughter Margot. David’s wife died early on in the film so it’s just been these two. They’ve got a pretty good bond going although Margot has started to drift apart a bit more and keep some secrets. One day she calls him three times but he ended up being asleep at the time. After repeated attempts to contact her he realizes that this is actually pretty serious and gets the police involved. They call in a detective. Now the two of them must try to track Margot down fast before it’s too late.

Searching uses more of an experimental style here as the characters never actually appear through normal camera view. Every scene is from an electronic view such as a web cam, TV, or something like that. Definitely a unique look and I will say right now I already prefer it to a traditional found footage/hand cam kind of approach. There’s no shaking or anything here which is good. I’d never want this to be the new norm but it does work rather well I would say.

As the movie is a mystery part of the fun will be in trying to connect the dots on your own. See if you can figure out exactly what happened or who the culprit is. For the latter the film gives you a fair chance of finding this out. At the very least I imagine you’ll be able to pull out the smoking gun a while before even the main character gets a chance to think about it. That being said, figuring out the rest would be very difficult and the film executes the plot rather well. A film like this always has to be careful because it has to keep the thriller elements ramped up but a poor ending would destroy everything. If the film were to get too gritty then the whole movie would be a waste of space but of course it needs to keep in some danger. It’s all balanced in rather well.

David’s a solid main character. He’s portrayed as a very reasonable guy and does a great job of narrowing down the mystery and finding as many clues as possible. He’s certainly a man on a mission and you would expect absolutely nothing less from him. He tries every available resource. It was fun to see Youtube, Twitter, and Reddit making an appearance. I would say that Reddit is typically the number 1 resource for virtually anything. I would consider it to be even more useful than Google if you want to find information. No matter what kind of content you’re looking for, whether it be real life history/science, video game information, or even food recipes, Reddit has you covered.

Naturally he also has to see a lot of pretty startling information as everyone is eager to chime in on the situation with their own information. It’s not the kind of stuff he would want to see but he can’t let any lead go cold. He goes as far as contacting many people in person to get to the end of this. He had one pretty intense moment in the theater as a result and you definitely see why he attacked the guy. Things had been going too far in that guy’s social media postings.

Along the way one of the big themes of course is learning about Margot. She kept quite a few secrets the whole time, some of which were pretty massive. She clearly didn’t have the happiest time and isolated herself quite a lot. Then there’s the fact that there are a lot of bad influences at school or even at the home which got to her. As a character she certainly isn’t as strong willed as David. I expect this experience will bring the two of them closer though and she’ll certainly be on the right track.

The cast is pretty small but the other two main characters are Rosemary and Peter. Peter looks pretty awful the whole time I have to say. His first scene shows that he’s on Weed and from there things just keep getting worse and worse. Even by the end you can’t like the guy. Then you have Rosemary who has a lot of accolades for being a pretty great officer. She has a lot of contacts and is supposed to be the best the force has got. The city has a ton of unresolved cases but no matter how good you are that’s to be expected. I can’t say I was a fan of hers ether though.

Overall, Searching is a well made thriller where things add up pretty well. Even once you’ve gone through all of the twists I would say that most of it all adds up. I would make the case that when searching through the zones that’s the one area where I can’t really buy into nobody double checking them. Seems like a really bold move not too. If you really dig deep maybe you’d expect people to know more things by the end but with a case like this where the answers seem apparent, I can see how there may not be a lot of extra digging. Searching is a movie built inherently to draw you in on the first viewing but there wouldn’t be much replay value in watching it again. That would be the film’s only main drawback here as is the case for most slow burners. The movie takes a long time to develop what happens next and showing off the characters so the pacing doesn’t speed up much. It hits you with quick bursts and then goes back to staying at an icy pace. I’d still recommend checking out the movie on your initial watch. It’s a plot that can be a little more down to Earth than a lot of thrillers though so if the concept of a kid going missing suddenly in a town like this is a little too much then you may want to check something else out.

Overall 6/10

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