Well, this is a clever film. Shot almost entirely from the point of view of a screen - a computer, phone camera and security cameras - Searching is a pacy thriller about a solo father trying to find his missing 16-year-old daughter.
It's a high-end concept and could easily have turned into a gimmick (as "found footage" films tend to be), but as this Hitchcock-like thriller unfolds via Facebook, Instagram, FaceTime, and numerous other apps, you stop noticing the medium and focus on the story.
A father-daughter relationship is at the heart of the story. David (John Cho) and his daughter Margot (Michelle La) are grieving the loss of wife and mum Pamela. They may live in the same house but they've grown apart and David discovers just how far when his daughter calls him twice one night, then disappears.
Searching keeps us on our toes as David navigates his way through his daughter's disappearance, and as the case becomes public the use of television and social media makes for a heady mix as the film critiques how we latch on to other peoples' misfortune and make it about ourselves.
A relevant and timely film, Searching is technically well executed, a gripping thriller with an emotional hit, and explores our relationship with the digital world, comparing it to those with friends and family. It also delivers a warning; an average person's life can be dissected digitally, and no secret is safe.
My only gripe is a plot reveal too early in proceedings; while many clues are subtle, this one stood out and my suspicions were later confirmed.
Other than this, debut feature director Aneesh Chaganty should feel very pleased with himself.
John Cho, Michelle La, Debra Messing
M (Drug references)
Clever, gripping and timely thriller.