Review: The Missing Person

I really wanted to see The Missing Person from 2009, after recently watching Noah Buschel new film Glass Chin. I reviewed Glass Chin here:

Where Glass Chin takes some old tropes of noir and twists them up into a new package, this film seems to me, more of a love of film noir and cribs from some of the greatest story lines in film noir history and throws them into a post 9/11 America. Both films are very good in their own way and both have one thing in common: Buschel loves noir and it shows in his films.

This film starts out with a call in the middle of the night to John Rosow played by Michael Shannon. It is a lawyer on the other end. He says he has been referred to Rosow by mutual friend. He needs Rosow to follow a middle-aged man on a train from Chicago to Los Angeles. The lawyers assistant will be at his office momentarily. As Miss Charley played by Amy Ryan walks through the door I could not get the opening of The Maltese Falcon out of my mind. Rosow of course takes the job from what I believed to be the film’s femme fatale(I may have been wrong on this one). Shannon’s Rosow character seems to roll Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe and Mike Hammer into a hardboiled P.I. with all the typical stereo types and throws him into the modern world. He starts out as a down on his luck man with a drinking problem. He will do just about anything for a little money as he smokes his cigarettes in his crumpled cheap suit.

Rosow gets on the train and keeps a low profile so his mark, played by Frank Wood, will not notice he is being followed. This train voyage reminded me of The Narrow Margin in a number of ways. As we get to Los Angeles he checks into the same seedy hotel as his mark, but soon finds the closest bar for a drink. Here is where we meet our femme fatale of the film, Lana Cobb, played by Margaret Colin. The story continues from here as our hero travels to a more modern noir location like over the border in Mexico and then back to New York City.

We as is our protagonist is in the dark much of the film as we travel North America looking for answers. Everything leads back to New York for almost all of our characters and how that fateful day of 9/11 effected them.

One more scene that reminded me of a classic neo noir is the scene in the hotel with Rosow listing in to what is happening next door. This reminded me of The Conversation.

I’m sure different scenes will make you flash back to other noir greats, most with a modern twist, but still a loving homage. Listen for The song “Once Upon a Time There Was a Pretty Fly” from Night of the Hunter and a lengthy conversation about the film Serpico. Did I miss any other references?

This will obviously be a film, noir fans will enjoy for its style and its love of film noir and neo noir. We have a unique modern twist on all of this, but nothing super original. I think most noir buffs will find this entertaining and worth their time. I look forward to seeing more films from Buschel in the future. I really like  Michael Shannon and find him interesting in every movie he does, so I think fans of his will also enjoy this film.

Review: Glass Chin

Variety called this film “Pure Pulp Poetry” and that about sums up this film. This has a lot in common with classic film noir B-films, it was shot over only 18 days on a small modern budget of around $1,000,000. This film is written and directed by Noah Buschel about a down on his luck prize-fighter looking to turn his luck around.   We have a great cast which is allowed to flex their acting talent. The scenes are sparse and not over edited or much background music.  This is a new film recently released on a number of formats, I watched the DVD.

Glass Chin revolves around a fighter who is broke and looking for a way to get back on top. He has lost everything including his fan base and a restaurant he put the last of his money into. We find him in a modest apartment with his girlfriend played by Marin Ireland. He goes out to meet with his old gym owner about helping train an up and coming boxer who is about to get a title fight at Madison Square Garden. He says he will, but he is also having dinner with J.J., played by Billy Crudup later that night to look at a job. The meeting goes well where we meet J.J. who is a gangster and wants to help our hero reopen his restaurant if he goes into business with him. It sounds like he just wants the boxer on his side and use him for muscle. We also meet the bartender played by Kelly Lynch who our hero has eyes for, and the muscle he will be working with played by Yul Vazquez. The first night working for J.J. seems to go pretty smooth, until our hero reads the paper the next day and finds he is in big trouble with no way out.

I really loved this little film and it looks like the critics have too. The general public isn’t taking to it like they should…yet. I really hope this film finds an audience, because it has a lot to offer. This doesn’t have a lot of violence or a big car chase or much action at all, and that maybe what people watching this are looking for. It doesn’t need all of that with great acting, well written dialog, and the struggle of the fallen hero in today’s society. There is a very big fight within our hero, after being a star in the boxing world and everybody loving him, can he go to an ordinary life or is it worth doing what you have to, to get back on top? The acting is top-notch and the washed out neo noir style of filming is visually stunning. New York is a character in this film like a lot of classic films noir, and makes for a great backdrop for both the haves and the have-nots. I highly recommend this film.

Favorite Tidbits: I caught two meta moments in this film, that maybe meant as inside jokes or Easter Eggs.

  1. In the boxing gym the owner tells our hero that H.B.O. wanted to come in and film their fighter training, but declined the offer. Our hero mentions how do you turn down H.B.O.? the H.B.O. of Boardwalk Empire and Girls? Co-star Marin Ireland has appeared on Girls.
  2. One of the people who owes money to J.J., that our hero has to go put pressure on is played by David Johansen, lead singer of the New York Dolls. The Dolls song Trash plays prominently on the soundtrack for the film.

New Movie Preview: The Glass Chin Trailer

The Glass Chin is a new film from Noah Buschel, that Variety called “Pure Pulp Poetry.” Sounds like something fans will love. This film stars Corey Stoll who you may recognize from House of Cards, but will also be appearing in a few other big neo noir films coming out later in the year. Including Dark Places based on Gillian Flynn’s book by the same name and Black Mass about Boston gangster Whitey Bulger. Billy Crudup who has been in a string of great small independent films with a handful of big budget films mixed in. Kelly Lynch from Roadhouse fame as well as recently appearing in a small part in the short-lived Starz original series Magic City also stars. This film will be out on VOD and in theaters on June 26th. Looks like a very good little neo noir worth checking out later this month. Here is the trailer: