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The Missing Person (2009)



Average Rating: 5.4/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 6,734

My Rating

Movie Info

A sardonic, gin-soaked detective contends with an odd cast of characters while tailing a mysterious, middle-aged man traveling with a Mexican boy from Chicago to Los Angeles in writer/director Noah Buschel's twisting neo-noir mystery. John Rosow is a Chicago gumshoe whose skill for cracking a case often comes with a price; he has a penchant for getting in over his head, but he never loses his cool. Contacted by influential lawyer Drexler Hewitt and asked to shadow a man who is currently en route


Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Comedy

Noah Buschel

Apr 13, 2010

Strand Releasing - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (24) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (8) | DVD (1)

There's a pretty good film if you give writer-director Noah Buschel a chance. The 31-year-old crafts a convincing noir tale, with a sense of realism that makes the experience pleasingly voyeuristic.

December 25, 2009 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The real mystery here is how writer-director Noah Buschel talked recent supporting Oscar nominees Michael Shannon and Amy Ryan into doing this movie.

December 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Buschel makes striking use of the Mike Hammer/Philip Marlowe tradition to tell a story of disorientation and loss in a post-9/11 world where the Twin Towers can go missing too.

December 2, 2009 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a great-looking movie, with an evocative use of music and, in rugged-yet-sensitive Michael Shannon, has an actor whose forceful, focused presence is the film's sturdy linchpin.

December 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sluggish, stylized and frequently washed in a bilious green tint, The Missing Person is yet oddly irresistible, its omnipresent anxiety like a musical chord that neither rises nor falls.

November 20, 2009
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"So you make jokes and smoke cigarettes," a lady in the murk summarizes. Yeah. Isn't that enough?

November 20, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Most of it is admittedly a lot of fun, especially when the characters come out intriguingly sideways.

December 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Michael Shannon adds another stunning performance to his resume with this small-scale neo-noir by writer/director Noah Buschel.

December 7, 2009 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

It's beautiful dread.

December 2, 2009 Full Review Source: SpoutBlog

Michael Shannon is a handsome kook whose turns in Revolutionary Road, Bug and this have earmarked him to be the next Jack Nicholson (or at least the next Christopher Walken)

November 30, 2009 Full Review Source: I.E. Weekly
I.E. Weekly

The Missing Person isn't merely a clever, cool spin on the classic private eye story, but it also works as a private eye story. It showcases a lurching, hunched, quietly lived-in performance by Shannon but offers more than just that performance. ...

November 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinematical

Why has The Missing Person persisted in staying with me, even though I started craving The Big Sleep halfway through?

November 24, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Press
New York Press

Shannon's complete performance, he moves like The Elephant Man and enunciates like Mickey Rourke, allows Buschel to drift into David Lynch territory without getting drowned in it.

November 22, 2009 Full Review Source:

The moments that do undeniably work are overshadowed by a general feeling that the film just isn't quite clicking the way it could or should have, amplified by a final act that simply gets away from everyone involved.

November 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Retriever
Movie Retriever

Shannon's performance takes The Missing Person as far as it goes, but when a real-world tragedy commandeers the story, Buschel's thin pastiche falls to pieces.

November 19, 2009 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

neither the existential 70s crime thriller it wants to be nor the apocalyptic fever dream it could have been

November 19, 2009 Full Review Source:

A reasonable approximation of the style, capturing Shannon at his most coolly insular.

November 19, 2009 Full Review Source:

Not the most riveting of noir dramas, this film exists mainly to project the talents of Michael Shannon in the role of a drunk private eye.

November 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Compuserve

Audience Reviews for The Missing Person

Had the perfect elements of a noir classic until the end...which sucked so badly and made me feel so disappointed in giving this movie almost 2 hours of my life. Note to director: Never make bad ending to noir film...NEVER
March 4, 2012
paul o.
paul oh

Super Reviewer

Cast: Michael Shannon, Amy Ryan, Frank Wood, Linda Emond, Margaret Colin, John Ventimiglia, Yul Vazquez, Merritt Wever, Daniel Franzese, Liza Weil

Director: Noah Buschel

Summary: Hired to shadow a mysterious man leaving on a train from Chicago going to Los Angeles, heavy drinking private investigator John Rosow (Michael Shannon) discovers that the stranger is most definitely not who everyone thinks he is. With a large cash reward offered by the man's wife dangling before his eyes, Rosow tangles with his own demons as he decides whether to turn the guy in for the money.

My Thoughts: "The film is one bizarre scene after another. If the film wasn't so slow and had more of an interesting story, I believe I would have liked it. But it was quite the sleeper for me and I lost interest pretty quick. But of course me being me, I finished the movie. The acting was great, it was just the story and the feel of the film. Guess it just wasn't my type of flick. I love Michael Shannon though. He does great with these odd characters."
July 12, 2011

Super Reviewer

A really cool movie. There wasn't much to it, but it wasn't designed to be overly complex and the overall message was great. The performance from Michael Shannon was amazing. He always manages to give off this extremely interesting quality to all his characters. The supporting role from Amy Ryan was really good too, such a different change of pace from Gone Baby Gone. I wouldn't exactly classify it as a neo-noir, but it definitely does have some nods to the genre. If anything, this just brings a personal and humanizing touch to your average detective story. You see the effects of someone drinking and smoking all the time and cracking cynical jokes, which is a really interesting approach.
April 26, 2010

Super Reviewer

"The Missing Person" starts at 5:11 am in Chicago as John Rosow(Michael Shannon), a private investigator, is woken from his slumber with a phone call from Drexler Hewitt, a lawyer, to offer him a well-paying job. As Hewitt's assistant Charley(Amy Ryan) explains it, he needs Rosow to trail a middle-aged man(Frank Wood) on the California Zephyr to Los Angeles. Once on board, he spots his quarry with a hispanic boy. And once in Los Angeles, Rosow finds himself not alone in his pursuit, as he chats with a couple of FBI Agents(Liza Weil & Daniel Franzese) who give him a pair of sunglasses to blend in.

"The Missing Person" is a moody and atmospheric neo-quasi-retro-semi noir with a droll sense of humor. Michael Shannon does well in hardboiled mode but we could have definitely seen more of Amy Ryan.(As with any movie of the last three years, for that matter.) Set in the present day, the movie does feel out of sync at times, as Rosow stands out in his suit and tie in a profession some see as outdated. That's not to mention his problem with working a cell phone that can take photos to which he is not alone. Even the train is a classic model.(Am I picky for pointing out that the California Zephyr goes to San Francisco, not Los Angeles? You're right, I probably am.) This only emphasizes the movie's theme of displacement, as the characters wish they were back in another time where everything made sense and they were happy. This is not really nostalgia, just wishful thinking in trying to recapture something that is lost forever.
March 19, 2011
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

    1. John Rosow: Gee, sunglasses that light up in the dark.
    – Submitted by Frances H (2 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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