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When David Kim (John Cho) awakes to multiple missed FaceTime calls from his teenage daughter, Margot (Michelle La), he calls the police and opens a missing-persons case led by Debra Messing’s Detective Rosemary Vick. Together, they comb Margot’s MacBook and search history (conveniently left at home), looking for clues.
Produced by Timur Bekmambetov (Unfriended, Profile), Aneesh Chaganty’s directorial debut is a tense thriller that takes place entirely across smartphone and laptop screens. It’s a clever conceit that creates an uneasy sense of voyeurism; people’s devices are deeply private, so there’s something sleazily exciting in trawling through Margot’s computer with David.
A shame, then, that the film plays as though it was written by an adult who doesn’t understand how teenagers use the internet. Facebook, Tumblr, Venmo and livestreaming platform YouCast are all name-checked, but the film doesn’t have a good grasp on basic technology. Why, for example, is David FaceTiming his daughter while on 12% battery?
The film doesn’t understand what mode it wants to operate in; serious thriller with emotional stakes or contrived, cynical satire (a set piece around a Twitter hashtag seems to suggest the latter).
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Searching review – a hi-tech mystery without its finger on the button | Thrillers