x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

The Son of No One: limping off a cliff

An interesting premise is squandered in this uninvolving and poorly constructed tale.

Tracy Morgan, left, and Channing Tatum in The Son of No One.
Tracy Morgan, left, and Channing Tatum in The Son of No One.

Director: Dito Montiel

Starring: Channing Tatum, Ray Liotta, Al Pacino


The goodwill that the writer-director and former punk rocker Dito Montiel gained in 2006 with his autobiographical movie, A Guide to Recognising Your Saints, clearly hadn’t run out when he was putting together the cast for this police drama.

With a roster of supporting players that includes not only Pacino and Liotta, but also Juliette Binoche, Katie Holmes and Tracy Morgan, it seems the stars were lining up to work with the man who helped put Robert Downey Jr’s career back on the straight and narrow. But others may be more cautious next time.

The vivid portrayal of urban malaise that succeeded at striking a chord before is attempted again here, but in this uninvolving and poorly constructed tale, it has the opposite effect. The story follows Jonathan White (Tatum) a good-hearted cop and family man, who carries a damning secret about his days growing up in a deprived New York neighbourhood. When a mysterious source threatens to reveal details to a newspaper, his life and those of the policemen who conspired with him two decades earlier risk being destroyed.

The muscle-bound Tatum fails to convey the fear and desperation required from a man who risks losing everything, but his performance is not altogether without humanity. While many individual scenes benefit from the strong cast and hold tension well, they never fit together into a convincing or rewarding narrative. What’s more, an interesting premise is squandered with a finale so anticlimactic that it appears simply to limp off a cliff.


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