I took a composition course not too long ago – and if you’ve taken one, then you know what’s it all about; structure, thesis statements, strenuous amounts of proofreading, pretty much all that jazz. But throughout the course, my good ole’ professor kept beating this dead horse a the point of absurdity – which was; The Medium is The Message (Taken from a Marshall McLuhan piece that was frankly an incoherent mess)
Now, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what that meant, it’s essentially teaching us that the way we deliver a message – is instrumental to the message itself.
Last night, i saw that phrase executed like never before in a film…
Searching is directed by Aneesh Chaganty, and stars John Cho, Debra Messing, Joseph Lee, and Michelle La.
Cyber-thrillers don’t exactly have the best track records, sometimes they rely too much on the technological-nature of their premise, resulting in a gimmicky & flimsy film. Searching however, utilizes its premise; The entire film takes place entirely in a screen!
When i say this film utilizes its premise to its full potential, i truly mean it. There’s a claustrophobic feel when your entire point-of-view is solely from a facetime window. It’s a form of storytelling that’s never been done before – delivering exposition such as character traits, past events via visual cues usually found in today’s modern technology, without it feeling like a lazy info-dump.
To my surprise Searching features a strong narrative, cleverly interwoven between all the chaos that ensues, similar to that of Christopher Nolan’s Memento, and even to some extent Dunkirk. It’s a suspenseful rollercoaster ride with reeks of paranoia for the first 3 quarters, and by then the movie already has you on the edge of your seat, then nearing the end it has that moment of clarity that sows the entire narrative together beautifully.
It’s so incredibly refreshing to see a film that boasts much about its supposedly gimmicky method of storytelling, and to see it actually deliver. Once again going back to what McLuhan said “The Medium is The Message”. Not to mention, this film was probably dirt-cheap to make (probably took a ScreenFlow License, and maybe a couple of C920s)
Featuring a simple-story that’s transcended by its execution, Searching is a non-stop thrill ride from start to finish.