Posted on Sunday, January 31st, 2021 by Ben Pearson
Shaq, a handsome 24-year-old, stares down the camera lens, grunting his approval or dismissal as he scrolls through online dating profiles. A friend sits nearby, looking over Shaq’s shoulder and offering occasional commentary: a raised eyebrow, a suggestion of approval. Shaq explains to an off-camera voice that he’s trying to get back in the dating game, has had his heart broken multiple times, and is now just looking for a good time.
Someone once said that the best special effect in movies is simply the human face. Never has that sentiment been more true than in Searchers, a new documentary about online dating in New York City. Director Pacho Velez puts human faces in the center of nearly every frame of his film, creating a set up in which he projects the dating apps of his subjects onto the camera, resulting in people looking straight down the barrel of the lens at the audience as they swipe left or right on potential matches. It’s a film about dating that practically puts us into the app itself, giving us a unique vantage point to observe the thought processes behind each swipe. And the results are mesmerizing.
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