Favorite New Films on DVD: The Missing Person

posted by The Joe

I think noir is the most perfect, unparalleled genre in all of film. Every philosophical prodding of the human psyche, which is perhaps the greatest goal of all art, tends to go best in this category. There’s no tinted bias over how wonderful the human race is, or how fun everything is if you’re not paying attention or just have your priorities seriously out-of-place. It always seems grounded, seeing things for what they are, seeing us for what we are. And it flows, because editing is what really sets film apart from all other art, and noir is the jazz of filmmaking. When you have something special, it feels like a whole other world, like nothing else.

The Coen Brothers tainted noir, I think, the way Kevin Smith tainted comedy and Tarantino tainted action. It gave everyone the thought that genres could only be done one way, and since that’s what they grew up admiring, that’s the way it must be from here-on-out. When it comes to noir, that’s all people go for. Only they’re not the Coens. There’s no balance. They either go gimmicky and parody-comedy, or push it dark to the umpteenth degree. There’s no in-between, which . . . come on, watch Fargo and The Man Who Wasn’t There. Those blend the two thought processes perfectly. And nobody else but the Coens can do that. People forget to blend, they forget the jazz.

But look, here’s The Missing Person. With every role, Michael Shannon further cements his place as the most fascinating character actor of the new generation, having a unique presence that I haven’t seen the likes of since Elliot Gould in The Long Goodbye . Not only that, this film feels genuinely important without ever feeling forced. I won’t give it away, but what this movie gets at, what it’s kind of about, and the subtle way it goes about it makes it the single most important film on this particular subject that I’ve seen.

The Missing Person is stunningly written and shot, the best non-Coen noir since Dark City, and at least for the moment has joined the ranks of the upper echelon of my all-time favorite films that I will watch again and again, far into the future.

It’s that goddamn good.

The Missing Person – Trailer

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 at 1:41 am