Searching ★★★★½

There is nothing like this in theaters right now, and personally, I've never seen anything like it period. The concept of following a missing child's digital footprint painstakingly makes perfect sense and is good fodder for a thriller in this age, but the execution is so original that I was mesmerized throughout the movie, despite the times I felt like I wasn't watching a movie. It occasionally comes off as a news clip, YouTube video or web surfing session, showing a desperate father's journey while mirroring our own society's technological dependence. These devices, apps, platforms, channels, etc can be both our greatest strength and greatest weakness simultaneously. John Cho does an awesome job carrying most of the weight, with Debra Messing helping quite a bit too. I could probably accuse the script of having a few too many twists and turns for it's own good, but I believe the intention is to show how desperate a parent would be to find an answer in this kind of nightmare situation. If you were Mr. Kim, you would likely also attribute any minor suspicion or coincidence to a major cataclysm and chase it down. Some will find it thin and gimmicky, but for me the visual trick is a lure in the water, reeling you into larger themes of the troubles of parenting, loss, loneliness, social media attention, and so much more. During the investigation we see kids who never knew the missing girl uploading sob story videos, thirsty for likes despite a real life tragedy unfolding. It is a sickness, and one of the many nuances the film contains that shows a bigger picture than the computer screen we view most of the story through.

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