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Searching (John Cho) - Review


Review by Shereen Low

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

LOSING your child is every parent’s worst nightmare, regardless of their age, be they a young toddler or a teenager. But would you know what to do if they go missing, and how well do you actually know your offspring, particularly as they grow older?

This is the situation widower David Kim (played by John Cho) finds himself in when his 16-year-old daughter, Margot (newcomer Michelle La), disappears without a trace after attending a study group near her San Jose home, California, in Aneesh Chaganty’s thriller Searching.

Following three missed calls to her father in the early morning and no word from his daughter after 36 hours, David finally reports her missing to the authorities once he discovers her laptop was left at home. Teenagers without their laptops? She clearly hasn’t gone AWOL on her own choosing.

So, while they carry out their own investigation, led by assigned cop, the esteemed Detective Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing), Dad tries to find some answers – and get some sort of lead – by delving into her online history and her friendship groups, only to realise that there’s so much he doesn’t know about his only daughter as all the secrets she held from him are finally prised open.

“I didn’t know my daughter,” he admits to Detective Vick during one of their calls. Trying to console him, she replies: “You don’t always know your kid and that’s not your fault,” before suggesting: “It’s time to start considering the possibility that she ran away.”

As the investigation ramps up with more leads coming to light, Margot’s missing person case soon turns into an abduction case, when her car is found at a nearby lake, four days after she first went missing. “The investigation will not stop until we find Margot,” says Detective Vick, vowing to find the missing teen at all costs.

Scores of Margot’s ‘friends’ and fellow pupils come to the fore to speak of their memories and #findMargot is soon trending. With few leads and suspects, it isn’t long before suspicion falls on David #Daddidit and #parentfail. How will he clear his name and find out what really happened to his beloved daughter?

With the story cleverly unravelling and playing out through computer, smartphone and gadget screens under two hours, Searching – which opens with an emotionally charged 15-minute montage reminiscent of Pixar’s Up – will keep you on the edge of your seat, with its many twists and turns.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 102 minutes
UK release date: August 31, 2018