Written by Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian
Directed by Aneesh Chaganty
It’s San Francisco International Film Festival time again, and TarsTarkas.NET is back with more SFIFF reviews thanks to our powerful influence to buy tickets! First up is what was my favorite of the films I saw this year, a film that is visualized entirely using computer screens and surveillance videos. Searching utilizes its visual gimmick very well in telling the story of a father looking for his missing daughter. We go down a deep dive of building a story around a family that has a large digital footprint, learn about their hopes and loses (including the mother dying of cancer), and come to modern day with father David Kim (John Cho) and daughter Margot (Michelle La), both still a mess after the death of their wife/mother, Pamela (Sara Sohn).
Margot is in high school and off at a study group, which she tells her father via facetime will go on all night. He gently reminds her again that she forgot to take out the trash before calling it a night. He misses a few calls from her overnight, and awakens in the morning to be annoyed that she still hasn’t taken out the trash and thinks she left early for school. During work he starts getting worried that she isn’t responding to his texts, thinking she is mad at him, but soon realizes she left her school laptop at home and never arrived at school. Thus begins a frantic search to find out where she went, what happened to her, and what has been going on in her life while both of them have been too saddened by Pamela’s death to stay connected. Detective Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing) becomes David’s point of contact with the police, and the two start trying to construct a timeline of where Margot was and what she likes to do, with David realizing with increasing horror he doesn’t know anything about Margot’s life any more.