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Searching

SEARCHING plays out entirely on a laptop screen. David Kim‘s relationship with his daughter has become more distant since her mother‘s death. When his daughter disappears without a trace, he desparately tries to reconstruct what could have ...

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David Kim is a nice man and a loving father, but ever since the death of his wife the relationship between him and his 16 year old daughter Margot has gotten more distant. They do chat all the time, but it‘s mostly about the trash can that needs emptying. They are scared off by personal things. When Margot disappears without a trace one day, David realizes he knows almost nothing about her. He didn‘t know that she quit her piano lessons, that she meets his brother often, and he also doesn‘t know who her actual friends are. With the help of her social media account, David tries to reconstruct what could‘ve happened before it‘s too late. In his desparate search he wades through the depths of silly chats and self-made videos, and reads theories by self-proclaimed detectives and paranoid reddit threads in the hope of finding a crucial clue.

SEARCHING is about a world that largely plays out in the virtual space of social media, a place where it‘s often unclear what‘s true and what‘s staged, fake, a ploy. Director Aneesh Chaganty sets the film in the virtual world: SEARCHING plays out entirely on the family laptop. Chaganty uses the full range of the medium and does it in a masterful way, so much so that you forget and admire the narrative trick at the same time. He creates his own visual language that goes from a pixelated surveillance video to a psychedelic screensaver, but he also gets very close to the people. The praiseworthy beginning sequence (suggestion: an Oscar for best editing) that shows the story‘s background with the help of newly created folders, archived photo files, and digital calender entries is enough to move one to tears.

Toni Ohms

Translation: Elinor Lewy

Credits

USA 2018, 101 min
Genre: Thriller
Director: Aneesh Chaganty
Author: Aneesh Chaganty, Sev Ohanian
DOP: Juan Sebastian Baron
Montage: Nicholas D. Johnson, Will Merrick
Music: Torin Borrowdale
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Cast: John Cho, Debra Messing, Michelle La, Joseph Lee, Sarah Sohn
FSK: 12
Release: 20.09.2018

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