Searching ★★★

A high-concept thriller that gets the fundamentals right and throws a breathless succession of swerves over its fleet 102 minutes. I literally had no idea where it was going from moment to moment, which is an uncommon achievement.

Ultimately, the 'Unfriended' films executed the "cinema of screens" better, I think. For all their silliness, they play 100% fair with their premise, unfolding in real time entirely on the protagonist's MacBook desktop. 'Searching' plays things faster and looser, which makes for a more conventional Hollywood thriller sensibility. The formal rigor starts to fall apart as the film progresses, especially in the final stretch. (There's an over-reliance on what one might call "Plot Point News Channel 6" video clips.)

Still, a solid entry in this burgeoning niche genre, and John Cho is excellent as always.