The Son of No One
Published: November 2, 2011
The Son of No One
It should come as no surprise to any fans of writer/director Dito Montiel (Fighting, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints) that his latest movie stars Channing Tatum. Montiel has an affinity for casting the strapping lad. But based on Tatum’s performance in the latest flick, The Son of No One, it may be time for the two to part ways.
Tatum delivers a wooden performance as Jonathon “Milk” White—a working-class, thirtysomething cop doing the best he can to support his wife and daughter (Katie Holmes and Ursula Parker, respectively). The couple seems unhappy from the start, however, making it hard to care when the movie’s central drama rears its ugly head and threatens to unhinge the family.
Through a series of frustratingly choppy flashbacks, the audience learns that a prepubescent Jonathon (Jake Cherry) killed two of his low-life neighbors in New York City’s Queensboro housing project in what could be called self-defense, if you interpret that phrase loosely. The crimes go unsolved, due in part to Jonathon’s best friend Vinnie (Brian Gilbert plays the young version, Tracy Morgan the adult) who helps Milk cover his tracks. As luck would have it, craggy Detective Charles Stanford (Al Pacino) is sent to investigate the murders, and is willing to look the other way since Jonathon’s dead father was Stanford’s old partner.
Back in the present day, a pesky reporter (Juliette Binoche) begins receiving and publishing anonymous letters about the unsolved murders, which of course makes Jonathon and his captain (Ray Liotta), eager to avoid bad publicity, uncomfortable. The remainder of the plot is propelled by the question of who is sending the letters and to what lengths the men will go in order to protect their secret.
With its parade of actorly heavy hitters, The Son of No One is, at the very least, fun to watch. Some of the stars even manage to live up to their billings, such as Morgan, who delivers a surprisingly serious and heartfelt performance. Beyond the star power, though, it’s another generic urban drama you’ve probably seen before.
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