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Winner of this year’s Sundance Audience Award, this thriller about a father’s search for his missing daughter ratchets up astounding tension and don’t-go-there chills without ever taking its eyes off computer screens. First-time director and former Google commercials creator Aneesh Chaganty proves as savvy about genre filmmaking as he is about our online behaviour – not least the generational differences that are played out there.
Its every screenshot executed in brilliant detail, Searching begins with a moving image gallery of Kim family history, bringing us into the present tense of David (John Cho, Star Trek, Columbus) and his daughter Margot (Michelle La). They interact through frequent messaging, and are perhaps not as close as David imagines. When Margot goes missing, David begins a frantic search with the help of Detective Vick (Debra Messing, Will & Grace), using multiple online tools and breaking into Margot’s accounts on the laptop she left behind.
“Cutting to the emotional core of what social media says about us, the result is as much a time capsule of our relationship to (and reliance upon) modern technology as it is a cutting-edge digital thriller… Editors Will Merrick and Nick Johnson deserve special credit for assembling a complex 3D puzzle that seems to be happening in real time, creating both urgency and the illusion that we have an active role in solving it… None of this would matter if we didn’t care about the characters, and in Searching Chaganty has found a new idiom for communicating not only the things we share, but also those we keep hidden from the ones we love.” — Peter Debruge, Variety