An intriguingly plotted mystery that unfortunately forgets to put the noir in film noir.
Raymond Chandler gets a post-9/11 reworking in “The Missing Person,” an intriguingly plotted mystery that unfortunately forgets to put the noir in film noir. A drab, pale-looking affair without a trace of visual style, this cross-country pursuit yarn fights a losing battle to sustain viewer attention via narrative alone, so much does it flounder for lack of imagistic flair. Watching the newly emerged Michael Shannon handle a lead role provides interest up to a point, but it isn’t enough to give this theatrical traction.
Hired to follow a man on a train trip to Los Angeles, alkie private eye John Rosow (Shannon) pursues the man and his Mexican boy companion to an isolated desert compound, then escorts him back to New York, where Rosow — for good reasons — does not want to go. Scripter-helmer Noah Buschel knows his way around Chandler-esque plotting, colorfully dubious characters and evocative locations, but brings none of it to cinematic life. Attired in coat and tie, the hulking Rosow reps an interesting throwback navigating a dread new world. Jazzy score and refs to “The Night of the Hunter” are evocative.