How ‘Searching’ Uses Tech Devices as Narrative Devices Tech| Innovation
Skype was on the fritz. I was trying to do a call with the filmmakers of “Searching,” a thriller that unfolds on computer screens and digital devices, but mine were not cooperating. The audio was clear but the filmmakers weren’t showing up onscreen, and the clock was ticking. I didn’t want to take time away to download an update to the app (and yes, I did that thing in which you deactivate and reactivate the camera button), so after some more fiddling, we decided to move the conversation to Google Hangouts instead.
Trying to figure out the best way to communicate through constantly changing technology is the story of my life right now, probably yours as well. And using tech to solve problems is pretty much a daily task. “Searching” takes these ideas to the most urgent of places: How well could we navigate a sea of technology if someone’s life depended on it?
This is the problem that faces David Kim, played onscreen (and on screens) by John Cho. David’s daughter, Margot, has gone missing, and he uses an assortment of digital tools and sites to try to find her. It’s a search assisted by Google, Facebook, Instagram, FaceTime, iMessage and so on. But when David logs onto his Margot’s computer for clues, he finds a chasm between the way he navigates the digital world and the way his daughter does.
“Ultimately on a computer screen, what we are looking at is lines of information,” the first-time feature director, Aneesh Chaganty, said in our Google Hangouts chat. “So we knew that if this medium that we were using is full of information, let’s make information both the obstacle and the objective of the story.”