The Son of No One (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
February 15, 2012 by Dennis Amith
Filmmaker/screenwriter Dito Montiel reunites with actor Channing Tatum in a crime thriller. Featuring a solid cast and great cinematography, “The Son of No One” will appeal to Channing Tatum fans and those who enjoy popcorn crime thrillers.
TITLE: The Son of No One
FILM RELEASE: 2011
DURATION: 94 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:35:1), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish Mono, Subtitles: Spanish
COMPANY: Anchor Bay Films
RATED: R (Violence, Pervasive Language and Brief Disturbing Sexual Content)
RELEASE DATE: February 21, 2012
Directed by Dito Montiel
Written by Dito Montiel
Executive Producer: Boaz Davidson, Danny Dimbort, Patricia Eberle, Cassian Elwes, Alex Francis, Joy Gorman, Avi Lerner, Jake Pushinksy, Richard Rionda Del Castro, Trevor Short, Trudie Styler
Producer: Avi Lerner, Dito Montiel, John Thompson, Holly Wiersma
Line Producer: Brian Bell
Music by Jonathan Elias, David Wittman
Cinematography by Benoit Delhomme
Editing by Jake Pushinsky
Casting by Kerry Barden, Karen E. Etcoff, Paul Schnee
Production Design by Beth ickle
Art Diretion by Michael Ahern
Set Decoration by Carrie Stewart
Costume Design by Sandra Hernandez
Al Pacino as Detective Charles Stanford
Channing Tatum as Jonathan White
James Ransone as Officer Thomas Prudenti
Ray Liotta as Captain Marion Mathers
Katie Holmes as Kerry White
Ursula Parker as Charolette “Charlie” White
Jake Cherry as Jonathan Milk” White
Brian Gilbert as Young Vinnie
Tracy Morgan as Vincent Carter
In this searing police thriller, Jonathan (Channing Tatum) is a second-generation cop who gets in over his head when he’s assigned to re-open a double homicide cold case in his Queens neighborhood. An anonymous source feeding new information on the long-unsolved murders to a local reporter (Juliette Binoche) leads to evidence suggesting a possible cover-up by the former lead detective (Al Pacino) who was on the investigation. As Jonathan digs deeper into the assignment, a dark secret about the case emerges, which threatens to destroy his life and his family. Written and directed by Dito Montiel, Son Of No One also stars Tracy Morgan, Katie Holmes, Ray Liotta and Jake Cherry. Music by David Wittman and Jonathan Elias.
Former punk punk musician and Versace model Dito Montiel has come a long way in his life and career. In 1989, Montiel and his band Gutterboy received notoriety when their band signed a $1 million record deal with Geffen Records and after cashing in with a big recording contract, the band was dropped by the label.
The experience would lead Montiel to writing a best-selling book titled “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” and would follow with a film adaptation which he wrote and direct.
In that film, Montiel worked with actor Channing Tatum (“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”, “Dear John”, “Step Up”) for the very first time and worked together in the 2009 film “Fighting”.
In 2011, Montiel would write and direct his third film “The Son of No One” and would reunite with Channing and the independent film would also feature talents Al Pacino (“The Godfather”, “Scarface”), Ray Liotta (“Goodfellas”, “Smokin’ Aces”), Katie Holmes (“Batman Begins”, “Go”, “Dawson’s Creek”) and Juliette Binoche (“The English Patient”, “Blue”, “Dan in Real Life”).
The film was selected to close the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and now, “The Son of No One” would receive a Blu-ray and DVD release courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.
“The Son of No One” is a film that focuses on police officer Jonathan White (played by Channing Tatum). He is a married to Kerry (played by Katie Holmes) and has a young, ailing daughter who has seizures. So, both parents are often concerned of the well-being of their daughter. But for Kerry, she is quite concerned that Jonathan has been transferred to an area two hours from Staten Island (a not so great area) and is now constantly working late hours and is never home for the family.
But their sanctity and Jonathan’s piece-of-mind is shattered when a journalist named Lauren Bridges (played by Juliette Binoche) has printed letters of a possible coverup in 1986 and it is hurting the precinct’s image, especially for Captain Marion Mathers (played by Ray Liotta) who is running for re-election.
These letters startle Jonathan as the letters is anonymously targeted towards him.
Through occasional flashbacks, we are taken back to 1986. Jonathan who was known as “Milk”, lived in the projects and he and his best friend Vinnie had tough lives. There were drug dealers, pedophiles and creepy people living in his building and the two were always the target of these individuals.
That year, a young Milk killed two people and we are told through flashbacks in 1986 of why he killed them and how he and his friends have kept the murders secret.
But one detective knows that Milk was responsible, Detective Stanford (played by Al Pacino) also was Milk’s father and swept the murders under the rug and covered everything up.
But someone from Jonathan’s past is trying to expose the cover-up and also expose Jonathan’s involvement by sending letters to a journalist hoping to air the NYPD’s dirty laundry.
Captain Marion Mathers is concerned about the press that Lauren is getting for publishing the anonymous letters and wants Jonathan to look into it. Especially since it may destroy his and the precinct’s reputation.
As Jonathan becomes paranoid of who would release the information and try to hurt him, could it be his old friends from the projects? Or is someone else responsible?
“The Son of No One” is presented in 1080p High Definition (widescreen 2:35:1). The picture quality is fantastic as there is great clarity, detail and good use of cool and warm colors. Black levels are deep, skin tones are natural and possibly the best part of this Blu-ray release is its visual presentation.
Cinematographer Benoit Delhomme (“1408”, “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”, “The Proposition”) did a wonderful job and great choices on the film’s lighting and Benoit’s cinematography looks fantastic on Blu-ray!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Son of No One” is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish Mono. The film is primarily a dialogue-driven film but there are moments such as Jonathan’s car being rammed or a scene with multiple gun shots that does utilize the surround channels. But it’s dialogue and surround environments and its ambiance that plays the biggest role in the lossless soundtrack.
Subtitles are in Spanish.
“The Son of No One” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary – Featuring an in-depth audio commentary by writer/director Dito Montiel and executive producer/editor Jake Pushinsky. Although this is one commentary that I wish was fluid, as there are some momentary gaps.
- Extended Scenes – (6:27) Featuring extended scenes from “The Son of No One”.
- Trailer – (2:29) The original theatrical trailer for “The Son of No One”.
If there is one major positive I can say about Dito Montiel films, it’s the fact that he is able to bring together an impressive cast for his films.
From his working relationship with Channing Tatum for three films, while “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” featured impressive casting, “The Son of No One” is quite intriguing that you have Al Pacino and Juliette Binoche starring in this indie crime thriller.
With that being said, it’s great to see Channing Tatum taking on a different type of role that he is cast in. Usually, he is cast in younger roles or military roles but this time around, he’s a family man with a wife and kid and one mysterious past. It’s a role that doesn’t require too much emotion and if anything, the character role suits Tatum very well!
As a cop, who along with a few others are keeping a secret that the main protagonist, Jonathan, murdered two junkies when he was young and living in the projects. While the film had potential, the pacing was interrupted by constant flashbacks and uninspired acting. And for a solid cast, you would think these talents would be better utilized. Especially if you have Al Pacino in your film.
I wish I could say that Al Pacino was magnificent but he was barely utilized in the film. Sure, his character plays a pivotal role but I wish his character had much more going on, than these few short scenes.
Casting Tracy Morgan for a crime thriller, may seem a bit odd. But Tracy Morgan was much easier to take-in as there are no in-your-face jokes or outrageous behavior. If anything, he does a fine job of playing a restrained character who is emotionally messed up! No wisecracking at all. This is probably the most serious role I have seen him star in and while he wasn’t utilized all that much, during his scenes…he did a good job playing a serious role.
Ray Liotta in a film is a giveaway. If you seen his films, you know what kind of character he will be. And that’s all I have to say about Liotta, without giving too much away.
And last, we have Katie Holmes. She plays the sweet, caring wife but there is unexplored areas that I found a bit frustrating because as a wife who is concerned about your husband, somehow her role was shut down after a major emotional scene. It’s unfortunate because her role could have been explored much more, but she seems to have disappeared during the last leg of the film’s storyline.
Once again, this is the problem I have with “The Son of No One”. Character utilization was poor, seemed rushed and while the plot had potential, this back-and-forth between present-time and flashbacks seem to hurt the pacing of the film. If anything, would rather have less focus on the young actors, more focus on the major talents of this film.
With that being said, “The Son of No One” is not a terribly bad film. In fact, the film featured awesome cinematography from Benoit Delhomme and an intriguing crime thriller that kept you interested. It’s an intriguing film but when it comes down to it, the screenplay does feel as if it was rushed. For a film with a strong cast, I also wish that there was better utilization of the characters during the present-time storyline.
As for the Blu-ray release, the picture quality is fantastic and as for special features, the audio commentary was quite interesting, despite the momentary commentary gaps.
Overall, “The Son of No One” may appeal to Channing Tatum fans or anyone that enjoys popcorn crime thriller.
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