Searching – Review

Screened at Sundance, thriller Searching presents a tense tale of a father searching for his daughter. A concept we are all familiar with and possibly one that’s been done to death, but director Aneesh Chaganty makes the decision to tell this story completely through the many faces of technology.

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Relying on technology to solely drive the narrative can be risky business. As technology has evolved, we have become so reliant on knowing exactly what’s going on, where people are, what they are doing; that watching a film that is simply screenshots of exactly that isn’t the escapism most of us are after when we enter the doors of a cinema. Although, as we sit and watch a computer soup up, facetime happenings and emails being looked at, it becomes eerily relaxing; cathartic even as we observe someone else doing all the clicking, typing and chatting to people you can’t really be bothered with. Although, Searching quickly reverts to the other end of the spectrum making the spectator somewhat sleepy despite a rather tense police investigation emerging.

After losing his wife, single father David (John Cho) takes good care of Margot, however some might argue he is a tad all consuming. With technology tracking our every move and the advantage of instant messaging or should we say hindrance, poor Margot’s whereabouts doesn’t go unnoticed for a second much to her and any young ladies annoyance. Except, every child lies to the parents once or twice don’t they? When Margot doesn’t come home, isn’t at school and no one can get hold of her this quickly turns into a full on missing persons exploration. With the award winning, perfect parent and detective Vik (Debra Messing) on the case, things unfold rapidly, but we along with David are left thinking there is something missing from this series of unfortunate events.

Despite trying to through us off with twists and turns as we trace every last digital move of Margot to figure out what has happened to her, the dialogue constantly reminds us of practically every avenue that has already been explored – constantly. This repetition, along with the same faces popping up on video chats and names texting, what could have been an incredibly engaging prospect turns into an average crime drama. If stripped back slightly, making us truly work for it, Searching would be been significantly more immersive for the audience, instead of offering everything up on a plate. John Cho as father David is thoroughly engaging, providing us with a convincing performance as the chilling realisation that he never really knew his daughter after all.

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Ultimately, what Searching achieves visually through technology is impressive. The narrative unfolds completely and utterly through screens, which is a concept used before but thankfully not one we are sick of yet. The suspense created is without a doubt warranted, albeit we were thrown many a curve ball and once the culprit is revealed, a sig and a roll of eyes is inevitable.

Whilst Searching represents a refreshing stance within filmmaking and indeed independent cinema, its repetitive nature takes its toll.

Searching is out in cinemas 31st August! 

Golden Globes Film Awards 2019 – Winners!

The Golden Globe Awards have always been full of contrition. From its own genre split (Drama and Comedy,) to its audacious nominations, the award ceremony – seen as a major step towards an Academy Award – has been provocative at best.  Last night was no different, and whilst there were deserving winners, there has been a dark cloud cast over the industry.

The awards were hilariously hosted by Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh (who would later go on to win Best Actress in a TV Series for Killing Eve.)  Though there upsets, that we’re going to talk about, we should celebrate the good news first.

First of all Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse picked up BEST ANIMATION, knocking Disney off of their perch and rightfully so!

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Roma scooped up Best Foreign Film with Alfonso Cuaron going on to win Best Director our new reigning Queen, Olivia Colman scooped up Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her role in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite. Best Actor in the same category went to Christian Bale for Vice.

Best Actress in a Drama went the immutable Glenn Close for her role in The Wife. Mahershala Ali scooped up Best Supporting Actor in any film for his turn in Green Book whilst Best Supporting Actress in the same category went to Regina King.  Rami Malek was superb as Freddie Mercury and scooped up his award for Best Actor in a Drama for Bohemian Rhapsody.

However, Bohemian Rhapsody, an altogether lacklustre film, scooped up Best Drama. It is disappointing for many reasons, especially considering that it’s director Bryan Singer has been accused multiple times of sexual assault across a long period. In a year where the industry is supposed to be furthering the charge against abusers, it seems weird to award this, again, rather average made movie against other winners such as If Beale Street Could Talk or BlacKkKlansman.

There’s also Green Book wins for Best Comedy/Musical and Best Screenplay.  Now, we enjoyed Green Book a lot but it has earned its fair share of controversies including Don Shirley’s family refuting a lot of the “true story” elements of the film, despite being depicted in the film formidably by Mahershala Ali. There has also been outrage of the white-washing of black experiences and heavy usage of the white saviour trope too. It all feels backwards.

What do you think of the awards?

Find the full list of winners here!