Screen » Film Reviews

Nobel Son


I recently raved about the performances in Bottle Shock by veterans Alan Rickman and Bill Pullman. Lo and behold, some weeks later, director Randall Miller is back with a second release (which was actually filmed first), re-teaming with Rickman and Pullman, but taking a near 180-degree turn to a music video-esque crime caper full of vibrant personalities and plot twists.

On the eve of receiving the Nobel Prize, the grad student son of megalomaniacal, ultra-philandering science professor Eli Michaelson (Rickman) is kidnapped for a sizeable ransom. While Mrs. Michaelson (Mary Steenburgen, Step Brothers) and the police detective (Pullman) who pines for her attempt to solve the case, Eli seems more worried about the ransom money. Meanwhile, son Barkley (Bryan Greenburg, TV's One Tree Hill) develops a strange relationship with his kidnapper, who may have ulterior motives for his crime.

With a lot of niftily quick edits and a soundtrack full of Paul Oakenfold music, this film smells of MTV, but not in a bad way. It's just fast and fun, and rather loud.

As with Bottle Shock, I think Miller pulls much better performances out of his older cast members than the youngsters, but overall it's an interesting, eclectic cast. Rickman again shines, though, and one simply cannot help but love his seemingly innate knavishness.

Because of its up-tempo style, this film's popularity will skew younger, but the R rating may help adjust that. Either way, colorful performances from recognizable faces and an unpredictable plot make this a fun film for anybody willing to give it a go.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.