Opened with the sound of a dial-up modem and a Windows XP desktop screen, the audience is given an idea of ​​how this film will look like. Through a touching montage, briefly but effectively the audience is introduced to the story of the journey of David Kim (John Cho) and his wife Pam (Sara Shon) and their child Margot (Michelle La). After the death of his wife, David considered that his relationship with his son remained close, so that at one point there was no news of his daughter after undergoing group work. In his search for his daughter through internet searches, that’s when he came across unexpected facts and finally realized that he didn’t know his daughter well.

In appearance, Searching is unique and simple because it only relies on the device screen. Although a similar technique can be found in the horror film Unfriended (2015), here it is used much better and makes more sense. Like when the investigation of the search for Margot was carried out, it did not necessarily force him to continue to use a cellphone or laptop camera but use television news as his point of view. The editing of each scene is also good and still natural, when what is needed is only a part of the laptop screen, a zoom-in is carried out which results in the screen “looking broken” and there are pieces of the next screen that are sometimes strange (such as zoom-in time).to the small screen of the caller, only the neck of the interlocutor can be seen, not forcing all faces to be seen) but it makes it natural. (update: it turns out that even though it’s simple, it turns out that the making per frame is really complicated. check this twitter post )

The use of a computer screen as a display (almost) throughout the film is not only used as a medium of delivery, but also as the soul of the film itself. Its use is also to show the characteristics and what he is experiencing through the lines of words that appear and are deleted/replaced on the chat display , even though we don’t see the player’s face . Likewise, the use of original sites that we can also access and do in the real world (if we really intend to), adds to our closeness to the film. Even this Searching movie is very spot-oncriticizes netizens, who are often pretentious and take advantage of a tragedy as an opportunity for social promotion and sometimes provide inconsequential theories on forums such as Reddit.

The gimmick’s use of the computer screen throughout the film may be what will get Searching attention or memory later, but its greatest strength is in its incredibly cool script. Debutant director Aneesh Chaganty (who after I found out briefly turned out to be a former Google employee, no wonder.) and co-writer Sev Ohanian successfully deliver a touching drama, thrillerwhich is suspenseful, and also a story that “forces” us to give full attention throughout the film. Mystery is indeed the main attraction of the film. Through riddles that are intended, whenever new information appears, I always feel surprise so that I inevitably get carried away in the plot of the story and guess what really happened.

Often if a film is said to have a twist in the story it will reduce the enjoyment because we have anticipated beforehand. Even though a good twist is not one that immediately appears and deviates the audience’s expectations, but a good twist is one that still surprises even though the clues are clearly shown throughout the film, and Searching has that. I, who had felt arrogant at first, managed to guess, in the end I was dumbfounded and gave a round of applause because it turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg. It’s cool again after watching and discussing it with some friends, there are at least 3 very subtle hintsshows what really happened, which before we knew what was really just assumed it was just a normal normal scene. Familiar with Andy ordering a hammer and poster in The Shawshank Redemption and Verbal seeing a wall of information in The Usual Suspect , both of which seem natural and mundane but have a purpose? Something similar can be found in this film.

In addition to a fairly unique appearance and an amazingly cool script, Jhon Cho’s brilliant performance clearly really makes the film Searching feel alive. Although most of his time is only dealing with the monitor screen, but we can capture the range of emotions and changes in expression that go along with the journey of the characters he plays throughout the film. As a film whose existence I only found out when I saw the trailer before watching Christopher Robin (review here ) last August 22 and decided to watch it on Monday after reading many positive reviews from Friday to Sunday, of course Searching was a surprise and deserves to be named one one of the best films i watched this year.

By Kania