SEARCHING (12A) ★★★★★
A FATHER’S quest to track down his missing daughter unfolds in overlapping windows on a desktop computer screen in writer-director Aneesh Chaganty’s thriller.
Tapping into timely concerns about cyberbullying and social media peer pressure, Searching employs the same stylistic conceit as 2014 supernatural horror Unfriended and its sequel, to test the bond between a parent (John Cho, pictured) and 16-year-old child (Michelle La) in a 24-hour digital age where appearances can be dangerously deceptive.
We are invited to piece together evidence by following the distraught pater familias’ cursor as he clicks on video files, initiates a video conference call or makes several wrong guesses at his daughter’s passwords.
Every second could mean the difference between the closing shot of a funeral or a tear-filled reunion.
BLACKkKLANSMAN (15) ★★★★★
SPIKE LEE’S conscience-pricking satire is based on a memoir by retired Colorado Springs officer Ron Stallworth, a black police detective who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s.
Ron (John David Washington, pictured) is persuaded to join the local police force as part of a diversity drive. As part of his work he responds to a newspaper advertisement for new members for the Ku Klux Klan and impresses local chapter president Walter Breachway (Ryan Eggold). He foolishly gives his own name over the telephone so when the time comes to meet Walter in person, Detective Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) poses as Ron and spits out racist bile on cue to perpetrate the deception.
Walter’s second-in-command isn’t convinced but his concerns are overruled when the real Ron develops a telephone friendship with David Duke (Topher Grace), the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, who is due to visit Colorado Springs in a few weeks.
THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME (15) ★★★★★
SUPERMARKET cashier Audrey Stockton (Mila Kunis, pictured) meets Drew Thayer (Justin Theroux) in a bar and sparks fly.
Their whirlwind romance ends abruptly with Drew dumping Audrey by text. She seeks solace in the company of best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon) who recommends that Audrey cleanse herself of Drew by burning his belongings.
Before the first squirt of lighter fluid, Drew re-establishes contact. He reveals that he is an undercover CIA operative and had to terminate the relationship with Audrey because the criminal fraternity was prepared to hurt her to get to him.
Audrey is touched until bullets fly and she goes on the run with Morgan and a flash drive encrypted with details of a terrorist network’s diabolical plans.
The Spy Who Dumped Me promotes girl power with every predictable twist and turn.