Synopsis: InSearchOf is an unconventional drama where one hasty decision can force good people into severe circumstances. Desire will change everything. Zeke Zelker’s twisted tale of people searching for love, power, revenge, family, belonging and sex unfolds.
Michael Rady leads this dynamic ensemble cast into the dark depths of human desire as a ruthless womanizer with a hidden agenda. An intense, spectacular, at times funny story, Zelker pulls no punches as he takes you through a world where a cheating wife, an OB-Gyn, an unsatisfied girlfriend, a high school virgin, a stripper and a prostitute will do anything to get what they want.
It’s all relative, but relationships are never what they seem. Actions always have consequences. Secrets will always be revealed. One act can have many different outcomes. One act can have so many different meanings. What are you in search of?
‘In Search of’ is a pretty dismal affair – so much so that my initial viewing was halted after half an hour because it was the wrong vibe for the evening my partner and I had in mind. After a long, drawn-out, emotionally draining weekend, something light would have been nice. But the characters were all unappealing, the acting was all over the map, and the various stories were grim – and looking like they were about to get even grimmer. So we stopped it.
Still, I felt the need to get back to it later, to complete the experience. I figure that, if I can sit through three hours of Tarkovski’s ‘Stalker’ in one sitting, I can get through anything. And, as it did with ‘Stalker’ there can be a pay-off. Adding to this, I had been planning to watch this movie for months, was going to get back to someone about it and am right in the middle of a sexuality-related thematic. So I wanted to see what it was all about in the end.
It turns out that ‘In Search of’ picked up a little bit after that first 30 minutes. It’s still an unrelentingly sombre picture, however: it blends infidelity, deceit, rape, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, drug abuse, sexually-transmitted infections, infertility, abortion, and even teen pregnancy, into a bitter concoction that I imagine could only be swallowed whole by pessimists or those who are deeply cynical about relationships and humanity in general.
I don’t know if writer-director Zeke Zelker’s intention was to shock or push boundaries, if he was ambitiously trying to offer something with deeper meaning than the usual Hollywood fare (and failed!), or if he genuinely believes that these people can co-exist the way that they are portrayed here, but all the cruelty and ignorance that was on display was difficult to tolerate. Personally, I would have liked to smack silly three-quarters of these characters if they were real, if I knew them.
What made the film remotely interesting to me was how Zelker slowly brought most of the characters together and then propelled us into the future by artificially destroying the print. On the one hand, he created a disturbing soap opera that was as riveting as it was disturbing – in a Jerry Springer sort of way. On the other hand, the gimmick of showing a burning print made me think that the film was abruptly over (an effect that would be much more pronounced in cinemas, obviously!) and then we got to see where the characters were in their lives a year and a half later. It was a deft touch.
But, seriously, what was the purpose of this film? Was it meant as a cautionary tale? Was it meant to instil fear in its audience? There is one scene in which a neon “God is Love” sign is shown all too prominently right above one of the characters… was ‘In Search of’ meant as a judgement on the “impure” who have “lost their way”? Even though it’s marketed as ‘In Search of Sex’ in some markets, perhaps the original title, ‘In Search of’, is meant to suggest another quest? A search for… God? Faith? So-called “values”?
Either way, ‘In Search of’ is a nihilistic tale that will leave viewers either discussing the subject matter and/or its intention; it would prove difficult to be left undisturbed by some of it, if not much of it. At the very least, it should spawn reflection, if not outright discussion. However, at its worst, it could also sow the seeds of paranoia. Because, what this film is basically telling us, is that no one is safe and there is no one that we can trust; it breaks down human relationships to a degree where they are barely salvageable.
For that reason alone, even though it’s technically a well-made film, I find it objectionable, if not downright appalling. It has little saving grace, and even less to offer as entertainment or as intellectual stimulation. And it’s most certainly not a sexy picture. I would not recommend it to very many people.