Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Michael Shannon, Amy Ryan, Frank Wood, Linda Emond, Paul Sparks, Margaret Colin, John Ventimiglia, Yul Vazquez, Merritt Wever, Daniel Franzese, Liza Weil, Paul Adelstein, Gary Wilmes, Halley Wegryn Gross, Betsy Hogg
Written by: Noah Buschel
Directed by: Noah Buschel
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 95
Date: 01/16/2009
IMDB

The Missing Person (2009)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Private Wise

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Michael Shannon gives a terrific performance as John Rosow, a modern-day private detective, drunk and smoking, muttering his lines from deep in his throat, and yet always knowing pretty much what to say in any situation. He is hired to follow a man and a boy. Arriving in Mexico he learns that the man is merely delivering lost kids to a place that promises to take care of them. Confused, he digs a little deeper into the scenario and finds that the man, Harold Fullmer (Frank Wood), ran out on his wife after 9/11 (they also lost their own child). Of course, it all goes a little deeper and some unscrupulous souls are after a great deal of money. The plot isn't exactly tightly wound, and writer/director Noah Buschel seems more interested in setting up his individual moments and deadpan conversations, evoking and winking at old-time detective movies. Most of it is admittedly a lot of fun, especially when the characters come out intriguingly sideways, like the Mexican kingpin who offers Rosow a cup of coffee, saying "I like you! I went surfing today..." Buschel may rely a bit on 9/11 as a device, but it's a relatively minor one within the narrative. The wonderful Amy Ryan appears as Rosow's stoic, withdrawn contact person. (Ryan also co-produced the movie; I wonder why she didn't give herself a more interesting character?)