Searching – A Decent Crime Movie

Rating (3 1/2 out of 5)

This was an interesting look at how technology impacts our lives and our relationships.  The plot is fairly simple, a father, David Kim (John Cho) searches for his daughter Margot who goes missing.  Detective Vick (Debra Messing) is put on the case to find her.

The plot and premise is very simple, but the entire movie is shown to the audience through media, computer screens, tv screens, phone screens, etc.   The shot below is from when the news crew is interviewing the dad at a search site.  There is also lots of reading of screens, in text messages and search engine results.

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What I Liked:  There was a lot to like about this movie.  While it seems like a pure technology movie at first it at the heart was a crime movie, and had a very good twist at the end of the film.  If it wasn’t for that little twist, I think my rating would have been much lower.

The introduction of the movie to the characters and technology was good as well.  It was shown through a Windows computer, and how each person had a login.  Then they displayed them saving the pictures of kindergarten, 1st grade, etc, then to the mom having cancer, and eventually dying.  This setup the mindset of the characters and allowed them to justify a Margot running away.

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When his daughter goes missing and David goes about trying to find her and her friends.  I laughed at one point where he had to reset the apple id to the goole e-mail, then reset the google password, and eventually sign on through Yahoo, to get the google password, to get to the apple id.  Felt like I did that just last week.

But the other parts were serious, as he discovered his daughter wasn’t as social as she had led him to believe.  She also had stopped going to piano lessons and he discovers when reaching out to the piano teacher.

I also like how the movie didn’t really make an opinion about whether technology was good or bad, it just showed how it existed and could be used.  At the end of the day, the relationship between the father and daughter wasn’t hindered or facilitated by technology.  The difficulty in their communication is driven by the same fears that would torment any father on his own, how do you communicate with a teenage daughter and not screw up the conversation and make the situation worse.

Finally, I thought both John Cho and Debra Messing really shined.  I am used to them in much lighter roles than this, and it was a very pleasant surprise.

What I Didn’t Like:  1 3/4 hours looking at tech screens was a little hard.  If they hadn’t added the twist to the plot, it would have been too much.  The view gets a little tiresome and don’t think we need more movies done entirely this way.

There appears to be a couple of plot holes here and there, with how technology was used.  For example, David and his daughter Facetimed all the time, so why didn’t he use a location device on her phone to find her.  They made him out to be anal enough that he would have done this.   In addition, why weren’t the police able to triangulate the position to the lake.  Maybe it was discussed and I missed it during the movie, but I don’t recall.

Conclusion: A good solid movie, that made me think about what would happen if my daughter went missing.  Would I know her friends and contacts to help the police find her?