Acting Lessons: The Missing Person

April 20, 2010 at 6:26 pm (Life, Uncategorized)

I have been watching a lot of movies lately. I decided to start exploiting my slow but unlimited internet plan and downloaded the highest seeded movies from

“The Missing Person” is a slow movie. I did not like it. The protagonist Michael Shannon plays an ex-cop turned private detective. His life is in a mess and he lives alone. His wife died in the WTC towers collapse. He is an alcoholic. One fine day he gets an assignment from an ex-colleague to follow a guy and bring him back to NewYork. That is essentially the entire story.

Michael Shannon was nominated for the Oscars for this movie. I did not know this fact until I started typing this paragraph (Googled before I started this paragraph). I must say I am not convinced. I am sure he is a better actor. People confuse mellow acting with shallow acting, and mellow acting is often good acting.

I started writing this post to highlight a particular sequence in the movie that in my opinion stands out in the other wise morose progression. The class act is delivered by little known actor John Ventimiglia who plays a taxi driver.

I always thought acting was in the eyes. This scene proves me wrong. John Ventimiglia has his shades on all throughout the scene, and he delivers a beautiful, spontaneous and lively performance. The backdrop of the dry desert roads accentuates his jovial and likeable nature.

The way he moves his hands when he says his lines, and the way he shakes his head to stress certain parts took my breath away. I must have watched this scene some 100 times before I sat down to write this post.

Pay special attention to how he says the lines “Get the fuck outta here”. Its the act of overacting, but less and less. He portrays the mixed influence of a run-of-the-mill New York taxi driver in his initial cautious approach and then plays the ready-for-adventure guy in the later part of the scene. I have met people like him in Bangalore, who originally hail from smaller place, but having lived in the city and having worked in a cut throat world forget to bring out their original rustic charm.

I just loved this guy 🙂


1 Comment

  1. The Acting Class said,

    I thought of the same thing too before… that acting is in the eyes.

    But someone a long time ago opened to me that I should treat acting as poetry in motion. The flow, the lines, the emotion… everything has to go well together.

    I didn’t know Shannon was nominated for an Oscar in that movie. Food for thought 😉

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