Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Ray Liotta, Katie Holmes, Juliette Binoche, Tracy Morgan, James Ransone, Ursula Parker, Brian Gilbert, Jake Cherry, Simone Joy Jones, Lemon Anderson, Roger Guenveur Smith
Written by: Dito Montiel
Directed by: Dito Montiel
MPAA Rating: R for violence, pervasive language and brief disturbing sexual content
Running Time: 93
Date: 01/30/2011
IMDB

The Son of No One (2011)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Cop Loss

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

For his third film, writer/director Dito Montiel (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Fighting) goes out of his way to capture a "true" New York City feel, with lots of honest-to-goodness, run-down streets and buildings, graffiti and garbage. Unfortunately, he puts less effort into his script, and the story makes little sense.

In 1986, young Jonathan 'Milk' White accidentally kills two lowlifes in the Queensborough projects in New York City. His friend Vinnie agrees to keep it secret, though Vinnie also has a disturbing secret of his own. Years later, in 2002, grown-up Jonathan (Channing Tatum) is married with a daughter, and works as a New York police officer. Unfortunately, anonymous letters are being sent and published in the Gazette that relate directly to Jonathan's past. The police captain (Ray Liotta) puts Jonathan on the case, but he may have other reasons for doing so. Who is behind the letters, and how will this past tragedy affect Jonathan's future?

It's hard to believe that a little boy could kill two grown men, and it's even harder to believe that Jonathan would spend every second of every day brooding about it. (After a long day of brooding at work, he drives to his old neighborhood, so he can sit in his car and brood some more.)

To add more layers of misery, Jonathan's daughter has some kind of worrying illness, and the whole story takes in the months following 9/11. There's no indication as to what Jonathan might have been like when he met and married his wife (Katie Holmes), or why so many characters seem so focused on Jonathan's problems. Moreover, Montiel constantly over-directs and over-edits, underlining certain points that have already been made clear. It's gritty and moody, but with no emotional or dramatic effect.

Anchor Bay's new Blu-Ray comes with a commentary track by director Dito Montiel and editor Jake Pushinsky. There are also deleted/extended scenes (about 7 minutes), and a trailer.

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