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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 20 September 2011
If you've seen it, you know what I mean *wink*
This is a must for all Rickmaniacs. Or those with professor fantasies. Probably also for those who just enjoy black comedies. Although maybe not so much the latter.
I've watched it three times now, but to be honest only to drool over Alan. The plot is messy and tries too hard to be clever. But I can overlook that, cos the film involves Alan Rickman doing one of his students on a desk. *shrugs* What more can you ask for?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon 13 March 2012
What a premise for a witty, malicious black comedy: Chemistry professor wins the Nobel and within days his son is kidnapped. The ransom is exactly the amount of the dollar amount of the award. The professor is a genius, a philanderer with his female graduate students, condescending, arrogant and so insensitive to others he makes us smile. Alan Rickman, of course, plays Dr. Eli Michaelson. Dr. Michaelson's first instinct is to keep the money.

Then a thumb arrives.

Nobel Son, sad to say, works against itself. From a setup dominated by Rickman's inflated and amusingly self-absorbed character, we're quickly enmeshed in a dysfunctional family that is plotted to be snarkily venomous but catches a case of directorial auteurism.

The kidnapping turns out to have stories within stories, all of which relate to Eli, and which in turn lead to another kidnapping. There are more malicious stories within stories, some of which might even be true (everyone is a good liar), plus a revelation or two. Do we wind up with ironic and extra-legal justice or just too much lime juice on the mango?

Unfortunately, the director, Randall Miller, isn't up to controlling a convoluted story of some wit and brittleness but which demands style and clarity. He repeatedly uses flash cuts and speed-ups, along with a loud, hip music score. What malicious wit there is, is lost. Particularly in a long scene in a mall involving a car as a prize, Miller's editing, with all his pyrotechnic flash, loses track of the cleverness of the switch.

Miller also has to deal with a cast that, except for Rickman and Mary Steenburgen, is only competent enough. Many seem to have cut their acting teeth in television productions with all those interchangeable roles and actors. Steenburgen, ever appealing and sympathetic, has a chance to add starch and vinegar to her role as Eli Michaelson's long-suffering wife. Bill Pullman, playing the detective on the case who develops a yen for Mrs. Michaelson, this time doesn't bring much to the party. Pullman uses far too much of the slightly scrunched-up eyes matched with a sympathetic or knowing smile. For the record, Danny DeVito has a role that contributes nothing. Still, it's always good to see him, even though his final appearance raises the question, "What the...?

Nobel Son's redeeming factor is Alan Rickman. He plays disdainful condescension better than any actor around. He has a gorgeous sneer, but perhaps to a fault. Many moviegoers only appreciate Rickman for the over-the-top characters he can portray so effortlessly. Watch him in the last Potter movie, however, if you doubt the depth of his acting. In fact, you might also watch a movie called Bottle Shock [DVD]. It stars Rickman. Miller directed it. Bottle Shock is a charming, coherent movie about wine snobbery. Rickman is charming, too.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2010
When you start watching this movie, the plot is obvious: a nobel-nominated professor heads off to Sweden to get his award and his son is kidnapped. The ransom is paid, the son is returned. All is well in the world. Its at this stage you realize the movie hasn't finished and you then enter the next phase. The plot twists around, and you get to learn more about the kidnapper, why he did it (hint: revenge!). Then, just as you get your head around this new plot, it twists again, and heads off in a different (and darker) direction. Throughout the movie, just when you think you understand the characters and their motives, things change around and you have to reevaluate your position (and pay attention to things). The only criticism is that the first part of the movie seems to develop very slowly, whilst the second and third parts move quickly; a bit of judicious editing in that first part would have been welcome.
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Eli Michaelson (Alan Rickman) is arrogant, narcissistic, and an all-round pig of a man. When he wins the Nobel prize in chemistry, his wife (Mary Steenburgen) and son are expected to join him when he is presented with the two million dollars. Instead, his son is kidnapped and held for ransom for that exact amount.

This is a perfect indie film with a bizarre script with endless twists and turns, excellent actors in quirky, often off-putting roles, a loud, funky soundtrack, and a pace that's so quick you'll need to see the movie twice to absorb it all. The ensemble cast is headed by Alan Rickman at his sarcastic best, wallowing happily in his role as a heartless husband and father. He's wonderful. Steenburgen's role is never fully explained; why would she stay married to such a beast? Bill Pullman is great as the cop who investigates the kidnapping. He's sympathetic, professional, and ultra-creepy all at the same time. Bryan Greenberg is good as the kidnap victim. Danny de Vito and Ted Danson round out the cast in small parts.

The exciting script will keep you guessing and the acting is top-notch. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2012
The story will leave you guessing but you may not be able to believe where it takes you.
Rather melodramatic and just a touch past the realm of possibility. It is still entertaining and well acted for the most part. If you are a fan of any of the main cast then I would recommend buying it so long as the price is good.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2009
Thisd film has already had considerable reviews, most of which find it too involved. Frankly, I didn't. I love involved corkscrew tales,as a fan of Le Carre. Alan Rickman plays an arrogant, conceited deeply unpleasant womaniser, a married man, a college lecturer who wins the Nobel prize. On the morning he flies to receie it in Sweden, his son is kidnapped, and aftet two phone cal sit is only after getting a thumb in thr mail he is forced to pay up. This is where things get complicated. Is it th son's thumb? s he involved? Who is the girl known as City Hall? And why him? A rea;lbrianteaser and worthy of more viewing. Everybody is absolutely brill in this story. A real ensemble piece. Buy!
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on 7 October 2013
I bought this to add to my growing collection of Rickman films. He is, of course, brilliant - snarling, unreasonable, egotistical academic. The main plot with the kidnap is rather bizarre and implausible, but hey, it's a film not a documentary!
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on 24 April 2013
I bought this at Christmas time for my Family. It was a good film, but I expected a little more owing to the fact that Alan Rickman was in it.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2009
I am a big, big Alan Rickman fan (& either own, or have at least watched, most of his films to date.) However, I have been avoiding Nobel Son in view of the clips/reviews etc. that I had seen and read. But then, this DVD suddenly showed up as a 'freebie' in a well known (so called 'family' newspaper) over the week end & I thought I would check it out, rather alarmed to discover that its 'R' (17+ in the U.S.) certificate had been changed to a '15', with no warning of (in my opinion) its very much 'adult' content. I'm afraid to say my original fears were confirmed when it turned out to be a stilted, loud, crass & ridiculous attempt at a so-called 'black' comedy/thriller. It simply tries to be too clever with a twisted, overly complex plot, and vile, nasty characters, that you end up not actually giving a damn about, doing vile, nasty things to each other. Yes, of course we need films that are challenging and a bit different (and Alan Rickman excels in playing complex, sometimes 'mixed up' characters - and seems to feel the need to 'stretch' himself with these roles - but they've all normally got human, redeeming features - not so in this case!) The opening scene of a graphic thumb severing, followed by quite explicit desk sex, coupled with bad language throughout & a general theme of violence, not to mention cannabilism and overly-loud obnoxious music, would, I suspect, put most off. As much as I adore Mr. Rickman, I'm very sorry to say that I think he let himself down big time with this movie - I'm not quite sure what he was thinking when he made it! However, I've now expressed what I think and, would further add, that it's one to avoid, in my humble opinion!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 April 2012
I love Alan Rickman. To say I was disappointed with this drivel is an understatement, I hope he leaves this off his CV in the future. Hasn't done his career any favours. My copy of this film is going to a charity shop.
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