The Son of No One (Blu-ray)

On top of the many top flight films released each year, there are a score of lower budget films with decent casts. A few of these are the ‘indie darlings’ you hear about around Oscar time but the vast majority are flops. These are movies that were made with good intentions or a decently solid story or cast but they never coalesce. They never take the next step that is needed to inspire people to get out to the theaters to support them, and they usually vanish into obscurity. One of these films was recently released, titled THE SON OF NO ONE, and though it has lofty aspirations and a phenomenal cast, the movie never quite turns the corner.

Jake Cherry (as the young Milk) and Al Pacino

THE SON OF NO ONE is the story of a young man named Jonathan White (Channing Tatum). Nicknamed ‘Milk’ by his African American friends in the Queens Projects of New York City, he was raised there by his grandmother when his father was killed in the line of duty.  The movie splits time between flashback of young Milk (Jake Cherry, most recently of THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE) and his friend Vinny (newcomer Brian Gilbert) in 1986 and 2002 (shortly after the events of 9/11 – another confusion), where Milk is now a rookie cop working in the neighborhood where he grew up.

Katie Holmes and Ursula Parker

In addition to being a rookie working a new beat, Milk is dealing with a bunch of life-altering events that all seem to be coming to a head at the same time. Too many issues to keep straight in a movie like this, but here is a summary: 1) he’s got a new partner and boss who seem to have strange motives; 2) his wife and daughter stay at home and live several hours from where he works; 3) his daughter has seizures and maybe some further medical issues (this is extremely poorly documented); 4) letters have started arriving at a local Queens Newspaper (run by Juliette Binoche) that may indict Milk for his involvement and cover-up of a crime when he was a young boy; 5) he’s having flashbacks of events that are confusing him in his environment; and 6) his mustache is terrible. Okay, the last one is maybe not a key conflict in the film, but if you watch it (or just look at the cover) you’ll see what I mean.

Channing Tatum and James Ransone

Any ONE of these conflicts could make a decent movie. Two of them, well-played, could be an award winner. But when you put all of these things into a single movie they all get watered down and just become confusing. The audience can’t make heads or tails out of the whole situation, and don’t get me started on that moustache. But seriously – this movie really, really wants to be great. It plays like a poor man’s THE DEPARTED at the front end but quickly loses steam when the acting is left at the foot of lead Channing Tatum. This isn’t the first time he and writer/director Dito Montiel have worked together, they previously teamed up for A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS in 2006 and FIGHTING in 2009 (read the Movie Review). It is clear that Tatum fancies himself a younger Matt Damon or Leonardo DiCaprio but he just isn’t strong enough to carry a movie with more emotional weight than his STEP UP films.

James Ransone, Ursula Parker, Channing Tatum and Katie Holmes

All in all, THE SON OF NO ONE isn’t a terrible movie. The cast is really incredible, featuring two of the stars of the recent, terrible Sandler-fest JACK AND JILL (Al Pacino and Katie Holmes), Juliette Binoche (CHOCOLAT), Ray Liotta (NARC), Tracy Morgan (30 ROCK) and newcomer James Ransone (GENERATION KILL). Ransone plays Tatum’s new partner and is very solid in the film. The problem is that all of the well-known actors play roles that they’ve already played and really don’t bring anything new to this movie. The entire experience is almost worth it for the flashback scenes, which feature some really great performances from Jake Cherry and Brian Gilbert. But in the end it’s far too little to bring the movie up from being utterly forgettable.

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: (1080p, 2.35:1 Widescreen) The picture is actually really well presented on this nice Blu-ray transfer. The flashback scenes are especially strongly presented.

Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio on this Blu-ray is mixed well and presented professionally.

Audio Commentary with writer/producer/director Dito Montiel and executive producer/editor Jake Pushinsky A pretty generic offering – this commentary is, like the film, a generic take on something that could be interesting. Despite offering themselves up to start the commentary, Montiel and Pushinsky never really give us anything memorable. If you’re a fan you’ll probably like it but there isn’t much here.

Deleted Scenes (06:29) I don’t know who would want to see any more after watching this movie, but there are a few scenes presented here. Nothing really worth the effort.

The Blu-ray also includes the Theatrical Trailer (02:29)

OVERALL 1.5
VERDICT:
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