The Son of No One movie poster
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The Son of No One movie poster

The Son of No One Movie Review

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Another cop drama, another Channing Tatum movie. Another film where Al Pacino wastes his talent. It's The Son of No One, a movie that no one needs to watch. The very definition of mediocre, The Son of No One is neither offensive nor captivating. It's a movie that exists simply to exist, to offer nothing of substance while still eating up an hour and a half of viewers' time.

The Son of No One is about a police officer who realizes a horrifying secret from his past could be revealed, which would destroy his life, and his family's. Flashing back to his childhood, the movie quickly reveals that (mild spoiler) he's responsible for the deaths of two men, and that those deaths were covered up by his father's police friends.

It's a story that has been done before, and to much better results. The movie is written and directed by Dito Montiel, who managed to evoke the one truly good performance from Channing Tatum in his directorial debut A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (the two also worked together in Montiel's 2009 film Fighting, which was terrible). In fact, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints is the only reason I've been somewhat supportive of Tatum over the years. The Son of No One solidifies what many people have been saying for years: Tatum just isn't very good.

In the movie, Tatum plays his character with as much enthusiasm as a pile of bricks. He mumbles and mopes his way from one scene to the next, eliciting zero sympathy for what is supposed to be a tortured soul. Not once does he show any indication of rectifying his situation, which begs the question: what's the point of the movie?

If atonement is the answer, I don't buy it. The "murders" he commits as a child are hardly murders; they're acts of self defense, and even if they aren't, they're crimes that likely wouldn't have resulted in jail time. It's understandable why the character is paranoid about people discovering the truth, but, oddly, his circumstances still do not make the character sympathetic.

As bad as Tatum is, the movie's failures rest largely on Montiel's shoulders. If I recall, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints was based on Montiel's youth; his two productions since then have been fictional, and it doesn't appear Montiel is able to tap into the same emotional core that drove him to make his first movie. The Son of No One is a meandering mess, with poor character development, a barely there story and a silly, lackluster climax.

The Son of No One is a painfully dull drama-thriller that could very well be the end of Montiel's career. It won't be Tatum's end, but it probably should be, too.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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