Set in the present day in Brooklyn, we find the central character, a woman in her 20s, who is shocked when she comes across a street poster of a missing person, someone she vaguely knew from school, and decides to investigate with the help of her hipster friends. All kinds of clues, possible conspiracies and even a cult are gradually uncovered; in a very dramatic ending, a second character is killed, but the missing person is found… until everyone involved realises that the missing person had, in fact, simply decided to take a hike and go off ‘social media’ for a while, not realising she had been declared missing at all. All the mysteries, conspiracies, the links intimated between characters and places (the big mind-map on the wall, different coloured threads connecting words and photos), were in fact fictitious, unwittingly ‘made up’ by the main character, in a thirst for adventure and a misguided sense of justice.
What is striking to me, with my magic hat on, is this brilliant sense of the ‘mystery’ dissolving: of complicated conspiracies and possible linkages vanishing into thin air. The central character believes to be digging deep, to be uncovering a strange network of events and people, a great puzzle forming in her mind, and therefore ours too. It is merely delusional. There is no mystery.
Search Party was a great Don Quixote for our times, except Quixote that is doomed to wake up from the dream she has been constructing, and realise that, because of her interpreting the world as ‘mysterious, a person has accidentally been killed. She saw a mystery, where there was in fact none.
I thought of writer Thomas Berhard’s quote (from Correction):
'We mustn’t let ourselves go so far as to suspect something remarkable, something mysterious, or significant, in everything and behind everything.'