Barkley Michaelson is in a deep life rut. He's struggling to finish his PhD thesis when his father, the learned Eli Michaelson, wins the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Barkley and his mother, ...
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Barkley Michaelson is in a deep life rut. He's struggling to finish his PhD thesis when his father, the learned Eli Michaelson, wins the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Barkley and his mother, Sarah, a renowned forensic psychiatrist, now have the ill-fortune of living with a man-eating monster whose philandering ways have gotten less and less discrete. As if Barkley's world is not bad enough, on the eve of his father receiving the Nobel, Barkley is kidnapped and the requested ransom is the $2,000,000 in Nobel prize money. Needless to say, Eli refuses to pay it and so starts a venomous tale of familial dysfunction, lust, betrayal and ultimately revenge. In the words of Michel De Montaigne, the 16th century philosopher: "There is more barbarity in eating a man alive than in eating him dead." Written by
Randall Miller & Jody Savin
Mary Steenburgen's main reason on deciding to do this film was because she was always a fan of Alan Rickman and always wanted to work with him. See more »
A studio boom mic is clearly visible when the reporter is giving a report from the families' front yard, even though the reporter is speaking into a microphone. See more »
The French essayist, Michel de Montaigne, once said, "I think there is more barbarity in eating a man alive than in eating him dead." The wisdom of it. When you were a kid with an open soul, they told the world consists of good guys and bad guys. I always liked the bad guys. Scar Face over Superman.
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I was really looking forward to "Nobel Son". I was thinking, finally, an intelligent thriller that is going to focus on the characteristics of those found in the academic sciences. But I'm afraid that all I got was a jumbled mess that never really accomplished anything.
The son of a Nobel Prize-winning chemist is kidnapped for ransom. There are a lot of interesting ways to take this story. The main problem is, they take all of them. We have an opportunity to investigate what's really going on in the mind of the son, how has his father affected his life, why does the father live his life the way he does, who is really responsible for the kidnapping and why... . The ways to explore this story are endless, and instead of delving in whole-heartedly, all that came out was a jumbled mess that left me feeling frustrated with no invested knowledge in any part of the story. Another review said the problem was too many cooks. I second that, and will adapt the phrase from "too many cooks spoil the broth" to "too many writers spoil the story". Only two screenwriters were credited, but I'm willing to bet there were more with their hands in it.
The actors were all quite good, I'm sure. It's the characters that I'm more confused about. Whenever they presented a scene which echoed my experiences in the ivory tower of science, they usually followed that up with a scene that didn't make sense based on what we knew about the characters. Perhaps I was focusing too much on specifics, but I was continuously confused and frustrated by their characterization and story ideas. Too many writers, ideas, and lack of focus spoiled "Nobel Son".
10 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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