Did You Watch “Searching” This Weekend?

On Friday I went to see “Searching,” a mystery/thriller starring John Cho. It’s not the type of movie I would normally get excited about, but I’m really glad I went to see it, because I absolutely loved it.

The twist in Searching is that everything you see is on a screen. That is, you’re watching video footage mostly of computer screens and phones. However, it’s not a “found footage” movie–the screens, text, and videos are crystal clear. I think the text might be a little small for TV viewing, so I’m thankful I saw it in the theater.

This may sound like a gimmick, but really it’s an excellent, engaging storytelling device. A man’s daughter has gone missing, and everything you see is the man trying to find her. It’s important that we see what Cho sees (we also see a fair amount of Cho himself, and he does a great job).

One little effect I really liked is that there are a number of times where Cho types something but doesn’t send it. Rather, he deletes what he wrote and writes something else. It really puts you in his head.

But the biggest impact this method has is that it gives the viewers a TON of opportunities to unravel the mystery at the same pace as Cho, or even ahead of him. The movie doesn’t hide anything. I went with a friend, and we had one of the best post-movie discussions I’ve had in a while, as we both noticed different clues at different times.

It was as if we were participating in the movie, not just watching it, which was awesome.

If that sounds appealing to you, I highly, highly recommend Searching. Plus, I’d love to hear which clues you identify before the character does–feel free to mark them under “spoilers” in the comments.