Sundance 2011 Review: THE SON OF NO ONE didn't Reach its full Potential

I actually almost enjoyed a movie that starred Channing Tatum... almost, and you know how much I don’t enjoy Tatum’s work. The film is called The Son of No One, and it had the makings of being a pretty great movie. It was directed by Dito Montiel, and had a great cast of actors around Tatum that included Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, Tracy Morgan and Ray Liotta. This is definitely the best performance that Tatum has given in a movie. It also had a very thrilling and engaging cop story that sucked me in from the very beginning of the film.

As I sat and watched The Son of No One, the film was shaping up to be one of my favorite movies at the Sundance Film Festival. I was loving it! But, it completely lost me during the last ten minutes of the movie. Everything was great until that ending. I don’t know what the director was thinking, but it literally killed the whole movie for me. The ending consisted of an annoyingly amount of white wash ins and wash outs, it was rushed and schizophrenic. Simply put, it confused the hell out of me, and apparently everyone else because the audience was laughing as it played out... that’s not a good sign. 

The story follows a cop named Jonathan who is just assigned to a precinct in Queens New York, which is where he grew up, and the same precinct his father served in. Jonathan has a wife and daughter who has constant seizures. He is doing everything he can to provide for his family, give them a good life, and make himself a better man. But he has a dark past, and it is slowly being brought into the light through anonymous tips and letters to the press that could hurt him, his family, and the police. Due to circumstances beyond his control Jonathan killed two men when he was just a kid, and it was covered up. His past has now caught up to him and he’s forced to deal with it.

I want to point out that the best performances in the film came from the two boys who took on the roles of the young Tatum and young Morgan characters played by Jake Cherry and Brian Gilbert. These kids were awesome, and they put an incredible amount of intensity in their characters, and there were points when I would look into the eyes of the actors, and I would get a little emotional. Yes, there were a couple of times I had to fight off some tears. Hey, don’t judge me, I’m just being honest with you on how these actors, story and characters affected me. 

Like I said, I thought the movie was great up until the last ten minutes. The Son of No One had an incredible amount of potential it just didn’t live up to it. I think this problem can easily be fixed though. I can’t help but think the director will read the reviews for his film, see that the ending was not well received and fix it before it gets an official release. If he does fix the ending, then I think it’s most definitely worth seeing. If the ending isn’t fixed, it’s just going to end up disappointing you. 

Here’s the synopsis for the film:

The Sundance Film Festival is thrilled to welcome back a familiar face to close out its 2011 program. Dito Montiel won the dramatic Directing Award for The Guide to Recognizing Your Saints in 2006. He returns with another gripping New York story. 

The Son of No One is a police thriller about a young cop who is assigned to a precinct in the Queens neighborhood where he grew up. To provide for his wife and ailing daughter, he works hard to keep his life on track. But this life is threatened when a dark secret bubbles to the surface. An anonymous source reveals new information about the unsolved murder of two boys and a possible police cover-up, setting off a chain of events that rattles the neighborhood.

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