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Nobel Son [Import]


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Amazon.com: 35 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining, twisted and dark thriller/comedy... March 23 2009
By Steve Kuehl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
When I first watched this, the difficulty rested in how to categorize this legitimately. We have action, a little gore, lots of plot twists, suspense, thriller, dark comedy and a little bit of sex. So I say it gets it all, and with a nice cast to boot.

Alan Rickman is great once again and plays one of the more despicable characters I have seen him fulfill. He is cast as the adulterous professor/Nobel Prize winner that finds his son kidnapped/ransomed for the money he will be receiving. His adulterous wife (sublime yet believable in Steenburgen) tags along all whilst the detective (Pullman) tracks the strange truths and twists of the case. Eliza Dushku plays an R role, and the rest of the cast gives some fun performances, especially from Hatosy and even a little part for Devito.

The quality of the DVD and the 5.1 are adequate, with plenty of featurettes/deleted scenes that help show the production's back story and missing parts. A worthwhile film that has gotten little press, and even less distribution. Hope you enjoy a fun, plot twisting film that can be appreciated up to the last scene.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize Dec 16 2008
By Chris Pandolfi - Published on Amazon.com
Have you ever randomly picked a vacation destination by spinning a globe with your eyes closed? The plot of "Nobel Son" works in much the same way; it spins and spins its tangled web and can end up here or there or anywhere. It's all at once a brutal dark comedy and an engrossing mystery, and it teases both the characters and the audience along with a series of deceptions and revelations and twists. This is no small task considering the demented nature of the main character's PhD thesis, which somehow forms a connection between cannibalism and a Game Boy system; it acts as a sort of thematic umbrella, under which lies a twisted story of human nature, specifically in matters of making sure certain people get what they deserve. Yes, I'm describing a very broad concept, and I admit that it doesn't do an adequate job explaining what this movie is about. But to be perfectly honest, I don't think I can give you an in-depth plot synopsis, partly because the details are difficult to sort out, but mostly because a description might spoil a number of pivotal moments.

I can, however, give you a vague idea. Let's begin with Eli Michaelson (Alan Rickman), who may in fact be one of the meanest, most unlikable characters of any film this decade. He's a Chemistry teacher with an ego that sprawls out even farther than the Periodic Table of Elements. He thinks he's better than his colleagues. He isn't kind to his wife, a forensic psychologist named Sarah (Mary Steenburgen); truth be told, he cheats on her at every possible opportunity. He certainly can't cut his son a break, an eager doctorate student named Barkley (Bryan Greenberg).

One day, Eli learns that he's won the Nobel Prize. Unfortunately, Barkley is kidnapped on the day of his father's flight to Sweden. Naturally, his father doesn't believe that he's been kidnapped when the kidnapper, an insane car junkie named Thaddeus James (Shawn Hatosy), allows him to speak on the phone. But as Eli and Sarah are escorted back to their hotel after the ceremony, they open a package and discover a severed human thumb. That's when Thaddeus names his terms: $2 million in exchange for Barkley's life.

To describe any more of the plot would be pointless. Needless to say, nothing is what it seems, and just about everyone has something to hide. Take Sarah, whose training allows her to deconstruct things so thoroughly that it's virtually impossible to get anything past her. She remains mostly passive about her husband's appalling behavior throughout most of the film, although there's a sense that she knows him better than he knows himself. There's a quiet but interesting moment between her and Max Mariner (Bill Pullman), the detective assigned to Barkley's case; she hopes that the severed thumb belongs to her son, because if it doesn't, that means the kidnapper is dangerously methodical.

As for Mariner, he seems to know that something about Barkley's situation isn't quite right. He goes from place to place, interviewing everyone who might know something. One of these people is the next-door neighbor, Gastner (Danny DeVito), a recovering obsessive-compulsive. Another person is City Hall (Eliza Dushku), who Barkley met at a poetry reading at the local bookstore. I honestly don't know what to make of her, and her name is certainly of no help. Then again, given the nature of the plot, one may not have to understand her. One look at her apartment is enough to unsettle even the darkest of minds. She's an artist with a lot of baggage, all of which carries over into her work. Paintings cover a lot of wall space, and they're all nothing more than muddy smears of color.

And then there's Thaddeus. Why on earth would he kidnap the son of a Nobel Prize winner? All I can say is that he has his reasons. When we first meet him, everything is clear-cut in his mind; he has a plan, and he intends to follow it to a tee. But then he kidnaps Barkley, and almost immediately, nothing is clear-cut anymore. Plans change. New lies are concocted. Alliances are formed and then broken. As is the case with City Hall, trying to understand Thaddeus is most likely unnecessary. Even though he explains himself, what motivates him is not as important as what he does.

I'm now realizing that this review has been annoyingly vague. But unless you want me to spoil the whole thing, I don't have much of a choice. Not that it matters a great deal; the mystery in this film is so bizarre and meandering that it's really nothing more than a distortion of someone's perception. Part of the fun was not knowing which direction the plot would go in, which is to say that I was continuously surprised all throughout. "Nobel Son" is an odd but engaging film that indirectly analyzes human behavior and the consequences it can bring. It's also a wonderful vehicle for Alan Rickman, who can play nasty like few actors I've seen in a long time. What a deplorable man his character is, so unfeeling, so arrogant, so greedy. There's never a moment when you don't wish that something horrible would happen to him. He actually makes Ebenezer Scrooge seem downright pleasant. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he never won the Nobel Prize.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Loved the movie May 3 2009
By S. Reed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie is a very fast moving plot with lots of twists and turns that sometimes leaves you unsure of what just happened. In the end though it all comes together and is really quite entertaining. Alan Rickman is convincing as a self centered, egotistical and boorish nobel prize winner who is soon embroiled in a kidnapping plot. Family loyalties are tested and priorities examined. Mary Steenburgen is perfect as Rickman's wife who has to endure his personality flaws while dealing with the brutal kidnapping of their son. Things aren't as they seem though and the ending is a surprise. Definitely worth a watch.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Smart and twisted March 21 2009
By Grimmy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
First, the summary on the back of the case is inaccurate. Second, there are a couple of squeamish bits. One is quite graphic - involving the uh, taking of a thumb; the other, also involving body parts, is quite shocking, but is later ... er ... mitigated.

Rickman is wonderful as a self-important, philandering professor. The plot is wonderfully puzzling, and, for all its twistedness, not lacking in humanity or heart.

And that's all I can say about that.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Worth The Watch April 2 2009
By gob runner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
It twists and turns and requires some attention (not for the slow of mind) to more than the obvious! Got lots of the Pulp Fiction speed and intensity with a little sex and gore which manages not to overpower the plot - it's bound for cult classic following.

For his legions of fans - Rickman never disappoints and this is no exception, smart, smarmy and sarcasm to spare! He has an excellent supporting cast of characters that unveil this deliciously twisted thriller in patchwork vignettes which are ultimately assembled for the final reveal! Made me want to immediately see it again to "catch" the details I missed the first time around.

Definitely worth the watch...and I will watch it again!


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