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“Searching” – John Cho: Hollywood Film Tribute

Today we are recognizing Searching, as well as its star John Cho. Our Hollywood Film Tributes recognize films and talent for their excellence in the art of filmmaking.

Whenever a genre film goes above and beyond, it’s worth making a big deal about it. Searching is just such a movie. Emotional and riveting, it also happens to feature a tremendous turn from John Cho, who’s almost doing a one man show. It’s so good, so fulfilling, and so surprising, it really did deserve to receive even more attention than it did. Today, we get to rectify that…

Here is a bit from our rave review that went up in the summer, specifically in August:

The film is a thriller, one with a well executed high concept, to boot. This is the plot synopsis from IMDb: “After David Kim (John Cho)’s 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened and a detective is assigned to the case. But 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet, where all secrets are kept today: his daughter’s laptop. In a hyper-modern thriller told via the technology devices we use every day to communicate, David must trace his daughter’s digital footprints before she disappears forever.” As David becomes more and more worried about what happened to Margot (Michelle La), he and Detective Vick (Debra Messing) continue piecing together her life. What David discovers shakes him to his core. Aneesh Chaganty co-writes with Sev Ohanian and directs, while the small supporting cast also includes Joseph Lee. Music is by Torin Borrowdale, while the unique cinematography is done by the team of Juan Sebastian Baron (the official cinematographer), Nicholas D. Johnson, and Will Merrick (the editors who also handled the virtual cinematography).

I didn’t get a chance to rave about this one last week, as things got a little bit too busy, but the movie is really tremendous. Every bit of praise you might have seen so far is well deserved. Cho turns in a nuanced performance, while the filmmaking style actually brings out more tension in an already riveting story. There’s a small downtown in the third act when things get a little bit ridiculous, but up until then, it’s enthralling, moving, sad, and the sort of thing where you’re unable to look away. Chaganty has crafted something above and beyond here.

Something that shouldn’t be lost in all of this is how nice it is to see representation be successful in cinema. Crazy Rich Asians is making a ton of money, while Searching is lighting it up in limited release. Later on this week, it should do some strong work at the box office too. For anyone who complains (and how could you complain?) about diversity, just know that audiences want this. 99% of the movies are still lily white, so that’s not changing. However, a wider swarth of individuals deserve to see their stories up on the big screen. Moreover, genre fare should reflect diversity too. When this happens, we all win.

Photos Courtesy Sony Pictures

Hollywood Film Tributes recognizing films and talent for their excellence in the art of filmmaking.
Editors: Carlos de Abreu and Joey Magidson [Tomatometer-approved critic]
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CRITERIA: HOLLYWOOD FILM TRIBUTES are based on multiple elements that are taken into consideration including award events and consultations with industry insiders (agents, managers, journalists, awards strategists, filmmakers, awards voters, producers, studio execs).

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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