Movie Review: Searching

24 Sep 2018 / 11:48 H.

Essentially, this is a missing child story, with a frantic father and dedicated cop trying hard to find her. However, Chaganty has captured the drama in a different way.
The whole story is told via social media, security camera footage, computer and smartphone screens, and is handled extremely well.
Beginning with a flashback, the audience is introduced to the happy Korean-American family of David Kim (John Cho), his beautiful wife Pamela (Sara Sohn) and daughter Margot (Michelle La), via home videos and still photos.
We learn that Pamela has recently died of cancer, and father and daughter are coping with their grief in different ways.
The main plot begins simply enough, with David berating his daughter over the phone for not doing her chores, which she promises to do after her group study session ends later that night.
While David is sleeping, he is contacted by Margot, but her calls go unanswered. The next morning, he finally notices them, and when she doesn’t pick up, he simply assumes that his daughter is busy at school.
When she doesn’t call back after some time, a concerned David starts calling up all those who might know where she is, including his brother Peter (Joseph Lee) who initially dismisses it as Margot sowing her wild oats.
When it becomes clear that Margot is not where she is supposed to be, David finally calls the police and Detective Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing) is put on the case.
Vick finds strong evidence that Margot is leading another life, and may have simply run away.
However, as David digs deeper into Margot’s various social media accounts, he finds out that he really does not know what is going on in his daughter’s life.
At the same time, he is also convinced that she has not actually run away.
When David finds clues that Margot regularly frequents a nearby lake, he leads the police to it. Margot’s car is found submerged, and it becomes apparent that Margot has been abducted.
At this point, the story turns from a family drama into a mystery-cum-thriller.
The director deserves praise for keeping us on the edge of our seats throughout the movie, and also for getting Cho and Messing (who are better known for comedic roles) to deliver what are probably their career-best performances.

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