Searching starts well, telling the story of a young family entirely through their interactions with a computer. We see the moment when the daughter is old enough to get her account on the computer. We see first days of school, birthdays, and other celebrations through the photos, videos, and emails that the family puts on the computer. We see the increasing sadness of the family as the mother is diagnosed with cancer, the ups and downs of her treatment, and her eventual death. This dual screen (the movie screen showing computer screens) mediated telling of the family’s story is engaging and different and gave me a lot of hope for the rest of the movie. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The movie continues to tell the story in this dual mediated way, even when doing so adds nothing to the experience. Late in the movie, for example, long after I was sick of the technique, a character confesses to a crime. We watch the confession through the CCTV of the police station interview room. In another unbelievable, painful scene, a character sets up hidden cameras to record a conversation with his brother and we watch through those hidden cameras. But the thing that really sinks this movie is the plot. I guessed who the culprit was early in the movie because of statements made by another character which were so obvious and out of the blue that you had to know they were relevant to the crime. Sometimes adding another twist to a plot diminishes the plot. That was the case here. Such a shame that a movie with a great idea at its heart had to turn out so badly.
I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.