Searching is a timely twist-and-turn thriller about a missing daughter and a cyber-sleuth search for clues by her father. It’s an innovative film in that it’s told completely through computer and cell-phone imagery, yet is surprisingly visually engaging and very suspenseful.
As the movie begins, we meet the Korean-American Kim family via a montage of computerized memories. We see David Kim (John Cho) and his wife Pamela and daughter Margot enjoying many years of happy family times until it all falls apart when Pamela dies of cancer, leaving David and Margot to cope without her.
To present day, as David wakes up the morning after his 16-year-old daughter has been at a late-night study session, and discovers she hasn’t come home. After trying everything to get in touch with her, his worry turns to panic and he files a missing persons report. He is connected with a competent, helpful detective, Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing), an expert in such cases.
The detective and the frantic father hack Margot’s computer looking for clues and contact all her online friends, trying to determine her whereabouts. As they dig deeper and deeper into Margot’s online life, David realizes that he really doesn’t know his daughter. Her computer reveals that after her mother’s death, Margot sought support and understanding through social media, which may have left her vulnerable in a way she didn’t understand.
As time goes by, the desperate father gradually unravels, and some of his actions are morally questionable, but justifiable from his point of view, which forces us to contemplate what we would do, facing the same situation. As events unfold and the suspense intensifies, the audience has the opportunity to play detective and try to solve the unique mystery in the film.
The message of the movie is clear: we leave digital footprints everywhere and if our secrets aren’t safe, neither are we.
This movie is a co-presentation of the Shuswap Film Society and the Salmar Classic Theatre, showing at 7:30 from Friday Sept. 14 to Thursday Sept. 20.