Private detective John Rosow is hired to tail a man on a train from Chicago to Los Angeles. Rosow gradually uncovers the man's identity as a missing person; one of the thousands presumed ... See full summary »
Private detective John Rosow is hired to tail a man on a train from Chicago to Los Angeles. Rosow gradually uncovers the man's identity as a missing person; one of the thousands presumed dead after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Persuaded by a large reward, Rosow is charged with bringing the missing person back to his wife in New York City. Written by
When the train pulls into what's supposed to be Union Station, Los Angeles, the platform is really in Downtown San Diego. John Rosow is next seen in front of Union Station which is 120 miles away by air. Previously, when he boarded the train (the California Zephyr) in Chicago, the same San Diego platform (including the trunk of a palm tree) can be seen briefly through the window. The California Zephyr does not go to either San Diego or LA. It terminates in Emeryville. See more »
A Mood Piece That Uses Old Techniques to Tell a Modern Story
Writer/Director Noah Buschel is a name we will likely recognize more as audiences who missed the theater release of this very quiet moody piece discover it on DVD. In many way this story and cinematic recreation of the story reminds us of the old dark Bogart mysteries - in tone of telling, in filming gestures, and in the casting. It is a true 'film noir' revealed slowly and insidiously in tones of umber, gray, and washed out colors so prevalent in the early color films and so additive to this production. For this viewer it works on every level.
Private Detective John Rosow (Michael Shannon in a brilliantly understated performance) is a down and out, alcoholic, internalized and bruised man who is hired to shadow a man from Chicago to Los Angeles. Rosow seems to be easily manipulated by his 'boss' Gus (Papitos) and sidekick Charley (Amy Ryan), but when Rosow reaches Los Angeles he discovers that the man he is trailing - Harold Fulmer (Frank Wood) - is delivering a young Mexican boy to one Don Edgar (Yul Vasquez) who seems to be running an orphanage for lost kids to either sell to adopting parents or manipulate otherwise. He is sidetracked by an agent Lana Cobb (Margaret Colin) but with the help of a taxi driver Hero (John Ventimiglia) he finally finds his targeted Harold who insists that he is a lost man, a man who only wants to remain missing to help people like the young Mexican who was an unwanted boy to find some degree of happiness. Rosow reports his findings, and surprisingly is told that Harold wife Megan (Linda Emond) will pay a huge sum of money just to retrieve her missing husband. It seems Harold has been missing since 9/11, but instead of dying in that explosion Harold escaped and decided the world needed help- the only way he felt he could deliver it was to leave behind his wealthy wife and lifestyle and simply do good, anonymous deeds. Rosow meets with Megan, gets the money, but in doing so Rosow must relive the fact that he has lost his wife and world as a result of 9/11, changing his priorities of how to end his assignment: does he turn over Harold and take the small fortune or does he follow his heart? He does the right thing.
Though the story is a strongly told mystery thriller it is first and foremost a story about the loss and disorientation that have paralyzed so many people following 9/11. The beauty of THE MISSING PERSON is the message that in many ways we are all 'missing persons' now. How we elect to deal with that is the part of the story we individually must complete. Michael Shannon enters the ranks of significant film actors with this deeply touching role. This is a little film that deserves a very wide audience.
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