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Too Much Style in Nobel Son

Published December 5, 2008 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Freestyle Releasing
Nobel Son PosterNobel Son
Isn't it hip to hear criminals philosophizing on the social implications of their crime? Isn't it even cooler when it's set to a techno beat? Because now we know why he does everything that happens in the rest of the movie! And it's a flashback so Nobel Son really pulls out all the clichés to cover its bases.

Review: Nobel Son

They have on screen identifications of characters, blurry slow motion, tricky editing, abrasive music and hipsters talking about being poor college students. I mean, I'm of the Tarantino generation. I'm not an old fart, but loudness does not equal style. And it's all handheld. Thank you, Paul Greengrass.

Alan Rickman makes an entertaining snobby A-hole. His character just goes for it, though it seems much of the engaging behavior comes from the actor. He doesn't quite have the material of Dr. House, or the 22 hours a year to explore his psyche, but he's the highlight of the story.

It's a conspiracy of quirky characters, which would be more interesting without the post Guy Ritchie style. That seems more accurate because it's all borrowed from people who were already borrowers. Except the music sounds like it's public domain because they couldn’t afford real techno. Also, you can tell it's all a crutch because it's just there to be there.

Actually, let's settle this now. I will go with the Wachowski Brothers. Bound is the perfect crime manipulation thriller. Even Run, Lola, Run used a certain style for its own gimmick. Nobel Son really just seems to want to be like all the others, and thinks mimicry on a budget is an accomplishment. It makes me respect the intention of Slumdog Millionaire, which I dismissed for its style. It may not have worked for me but that was a personal disagreement, not a sleight on the filmmaking itself.

The bad poems are funny though. They sound like the ones my classmates wrote in high school writing classes. Not me though, I always did comedy.

It's actually a decent plot. An A-hole genius makes so many enemies that his own kidnapped son feels closer to his kidnapper than his own dad. It's not boring. You want to see how it plays out, but it's just frustrating to wade through all the "style" to get there.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Freestyle Releasing

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