The Missing Person (2009)


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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 to Los Angeles with a young boy, Rosow collects his cash and instructions from Hewitt's gruff assistant, Miss Charley, and sets out on his latest assignment. Upon arriving in Santa Monica, however, Rosow is caught off guard when he learns that his objective has been updated. He is now to bring the man back to New York. For his efforts, Rosow will receive the tidy sum of half a million dollars. Later, as Rosow attempts to track down his target, a Segway-riding LAPD officer and a cab driver with extensive knowledge of the Catholic saints offer some helpful clues to the man's whereabouts as meddling FBI agents close in and a sensual femme fatale follows his every move. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Michael Shannon
as John Rosow
Frank Wood
as Harold Fullmer
Amy Ryan
as Miss Charley
Linda Emond
as Mrs. Fullmer
Paul Sparks
as Gus Papitos
Yul Vázquez
as Don Edgar
Paul Adelstein
as Drexler Hewitt
Kate Arrington
as Jane Rosow
Liza Weil
as Agent Chambers
Daniel Franzese
as Agent Craig
Gary Wilmes
as L.A. Cop
Rodrigo Lopresti
as L.A. Taxi Driver
Joe Lovano
as Saxophone Player
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Critic Reviews for The Missing Person

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (12)

The atmosphere of the film is similar to the Ellery Queen detective stories of yesteryear, but the result is not nearly as good.

Jan 16, 2018 | Full Review…
The Atlantic
Top Critic

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.

Dec 25, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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

Dec 18, 2009 | Rating: D | Full Review…
Detroit News
Top 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.

Dec 2, 2009 | Rating: B | Full Review…

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.

Dec 1, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

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)

Nov 30, 2009 | Rating: C | Full Review…

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

paul oh
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."


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.

Walter M.
Walter M.

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.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

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