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Searching is an inventive mystery thriller that takes place entirely on the computer screen of a middle-class family. When David's daughter Margot goes missing, David has to trawl through the 15 year old's social media and personal data in the hopes of finding clues for the police.
The highly restricted format of the movie, telling us a story through skype calls, web searches, and youtube videos, is a large part of what makes Searching such an exceptional movie. The limitations means that at every step of the movie, we are seeing the familiar and mundane things from our regular lives, transformed into vital clues in a bracing police investigation. Even though the Apple, Google, Skype etc. logos are constantly in your face all the time, its one of those occasions were the blatant product placement actually supports the movie rather than takes away from it.
The movie also avoids doing what a lot of other films do, which is to treat social media and computer technology as this weird, vague force that we should either fear or leave to hacker nerds. This movie isn't all "wooo, facebook is spying on you!", Searching has a purely pragmatic, neutral view on social media's role in our lives, showing it to us without judging or condemning how much of our personal life ends up on a website.
Naturally I am avoiding any plot details for the sake of the movie, but this is a twisty, turny movie that is constantly planting clues and finding new ways to surprise you. We can immediately get behind David because his missing person situation is so straightforward, yet the movie still does the leg work of establishing his their relationship and why you should care when Margot goes missing. The acting is excellent all around, and we are offered a great balance of emotions throughout - moments of humour and sadness and suspense exceptionally well balanced.
This is a simple experiment that really paid off, and deserves to be recognised for it. You should look up Searching as soon as you can.
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