What is God ? What is Destiny ? Do you believe in Destiny ? These are some questions that will never cease to amuse, haunt and distraught the human race. However, after watching ‘Searching movie’, once the barrage of emotions this movie evoked in me, subdued, I realized the possibilty of the Internet turning into a demigod like phenomenon that dictates your actions, reactions and most importantly, perceptions and what do we call the most significant tool that shapes human perception ? Yes, Religion.
Above-mentioned are not the ideas or thoughts the Searching movie tries to drill into your head, these are just random thoughts that occurred to me, as I was pondering upon this spectacular piece of storytelling. Afterall, how great is a movie that does not leave food for thought.
Searching movie is the story of a father and daughter who are trying to rebuild a family that has lost a very dear member. Apparently, the rebuilding of this relationship remains to the text message exchanges between the Father and the daughter. She is a 15 year old girl, who claims to be at a study night with her friend and does not return home the next day. The story ahead is an investigation drama that completely unfolds over computer, TV and phone screens. The choice to tell an entire 100 minute story using screens and not resorting to the standard filmmaking process, in itself, suggests the presence of a unique voice, of the writer-director Aneesh Chaganty. To create a cinematic experience without the usual storytelling tropes like, Sets, cinematography, lighting,requires immense skill and Aneesh, directs the computer screens as if they were humans with expressions, the zooming in of the camera and panning out, stealthily revealing the most significant text on screen, vanishes any possible unfamiliarity with regard to the cinema viewing experience. Every important moment in the screenplay unfolds on a recording camera, confrontation scene, a confession scene and an interrogation scene, suggesting that the ubiquitous camera is always watching us and everything we do, leaves a trace, just like God is always looking upon every act of ours.
There have been numerous thrillers and investigation dramas but only a few transcend into greatness. Searching instantly registers itself as one, as it never settles for being a simple, thrilling, suspense drama. While it tells a story of a disappeared girl and a desperate father, it, very subtly, raises pertinent questions about Parenting, the advent of technology and our frightening dependency on it to build perceptions of the outside world. In a passing moment, we see an emotional video of an aquaintance of the disappeared girl, in which she falsly claims to have been her best friend, only to exploit the potential viewership, thanks to the attention this case has attracted; a deeply disturbing prospect but how is the reality less disturbing, it is not.
Searching is a superb thriller with social and emotional depth.
Searching movie is easily one of the best films this year and easily the best movie made on Social media. Its achievement lies in the fact that the story never gets judgemental, trashing the advent of the Internet; quite fittingly, internet, here, causes the problem but eventually, it is the internet that solves the problem as well. The film does not intend to answer any of the questions but Aneesh fulfills his primary job as a filmmaker and that is, to accentuate the already laid out questions.