Wednesday, September 19

Film: Searching Click for more info

I actually really enjoyed 2014's Unfriended. During a time of too much teen-slashing-for-the-sake-of-it it effectively used self placed restrictions collectively called "screenlife" - the telling of a story from the 2.5th (?) person view of a videocap of a computer - to bring a new sense of dread, lack of control and scary times.

So it made sense that I'd be interested in Searching, the latest take on the technique. This time we have a thriller, something that I thought would make its job a bit more difficult. Just how novel can someone's browsing habits be if you no longer have access to a creative use of screen corruption and ghost keypresses?

Well it turns out it can actually be quite novel indeed. Searching was really good and a success, both as a thriller and in terms of storytelling. This is something I'm struggling with because if the same plot was typically presented it wouldn't have been that great (some of it was actually quite cheap). Similarly the screenlife cheated a bit at times too - when you have access to breaking news live streams and every passer by's candid footage you're pretty much able to frame anything you want.

The genius is mainly in the breadth and depth of the world building - something presented as naturally and organic to anyone who has their own computer desktop. For example a shot with an email we're supposed to read will also have plenty of material in the background telling us about the world in which a character is living. This tool is taken to great heights in the movie; I expect future viewings to reveal plenty more moments of head slapping realisation and easter eggs.

Everything put together left such a compelling whole that the problems seen when dissecting it all but disappear. Totally recommended.

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