Reviews: A Simple Favour and Searching

Henry Golding stars in A Simple Favour, in cinemas now. Photo: Supplied.
Henry Golding stars in A Simple Favour, in cinemas now. Photo: Supplied.

A Simple Favour first introduces us to dorky single mum Stephanie (Anna Kendrick). 

Stephanie enjoys the simple things in life such as her son, her son’s school, and the loyal band of followers addicted to her mommy blog. 

Things take a remarkable turn when hot-shot, drop-dead-gorgeous PR executive Emily (Blake Lively) enters the frame.

Director Paul Feig’s latest is very different to his preceding works (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy). 

His previous efforts are loud, crude, and brash, whereas A Simple Favour is an intimate, twisty-turny story fuelled by intrigue. 

Feig restricts himself to only a handful of settings and characters.

Most of it resides in Emily and her husband(Henry Golding)’s palatial, ultra-modern home. 

The writer/director expresses his love for the tropes of suburban noir (the mysterious characters, sense of dread etc.) and pays homage to many influential mystery-thrillers. 

However, his entry into the genre embraces colour and light rather than shadow and darkness.  

At times, Feig’s broad comedic sensibilities kick in – making for some tonally-confusing moments. 

Despite the occasional hiccups, A Simple Favour is a breezy thrill-ride thanks largely to Kendrick, Lively, and Feig. 

Searching

During the opening scene, we discover that David and his daughter, Margot, were once thick as thieves, but have gradually drifted apart after his wife/her mother’s passing. 

The pair struggle to connect as father and daughter and now keep secrets from one another. 

David’s concerns mount after Margot fails to return home from a study group session. 

Similarly to 2015 horror-thriller Unfriended, Searching takes place entirely within the confines of a computer screen. 

Featuring a plethora Windows and Mac functions, the movie uses each app to progress the story rather than to advertise products. 

Directed by former Google employee Aneesh Chaganty, Searching blends a tight mystery-thriller narrative with a discussion about the flaws of social media. 

The 27-year-old filmmaker understands tension and turns up the dial with each new scene. 

At the centre of the story, John Cho delivers a remarkable performance as David.

The movie centres almost entirely on him, and Cho makes every moment work. 

Michelle La is captivating as Margot, while Will and Grace star Debra Messing shines as the lead detective assigned to help David. 

Searching doesn’t just have a tight story and interesting characters, it provides a horrifying insight into our reliance on technology. 

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