The Son Of No One *
Director: Dito Montiel.
Screenplay: Dito Montiel.
Starring: Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Ray Liotta, Katie Holmes, Juliette Binoche, Tracy Morgan, James Ransone, Jake Cherry, Brian Gilbert, Ursula Parker.
Writer/director Dito Montiel made a great debut in 2006 with the autobiographical “A Guide To Recognising Your Saints“. He made good use of working class, New York locations and assembled an impressive cast. He does the same with this but the end result is far less satisfying.
Jonathan White (Channing Tatum) is a rookie cop who seemingly has the world on his shoulders. He is assigned to the same Precinct of his late father in the same district where he grew up as two unsolved murders from his childhood resurface. These murders may or may not involve him and/or retired Detective Charles Stanford (Al Pacino). Anonymous letters begin to appear from a person who claims to know the identity of the killer and Precinct Captain Marion Mathers (Ray Liotta) wants the case cleared up before it threatens the lives and careers of some possible corrupt cops.
Montiel approaches this with a real gritty realism and the film starts very positively. Name, after recognisable name, appear on the opening credits and the talented cast of excellent performers lead you to believe that this might be something quite special. This belief actually lasts for the first half hour or so, as Montiel builds the layers of his story and employs the use of flashbacks to do so. However, it reaches a point where you realise the film has no sense of urgency and that you’re none the wiser as to what the hell is going on. This is not because the story is complicated but because the actions and behaviour of most the characters are frankly, baffling. If Montiel had a coherent story to begin with, then he certainly doesn’t know how to tell it. It, quite simply, doesn’t make sense and the plot holes are insulting. I’d be revealing too much to go into detail but the denouement itself is absolutely ludicrous and you can’t help but feel sorry for the actors. Even they have a look of bewilderment. I often wonder what great actors see in a script and whether any of them even read this one? I can only assume that some of this film was lost on the cutting-room floor and that in script form it actually made sense because if it didn’t, I think everyone involved (including Pacino) should take a sabbatical.
90 mins of unintelligible, inarticulate pap. After this and stinkers like “88 Minutes” and “Righteous Kill” it would seem that Al is losing his touch in recognising a good crime thriller. In fairness though, this might just come down to a bad case of editorial yips.