Quentin Tarantino had a profound impact on his fellow filmmakers during the 1990s – a profoundly bad one.
Every other director tried to mimic Tarantino’s style, and most did it poorly.
Could today’s directors do the same with Guy Ritchie?
Alan Rickman stars as Professor Eli Michaelson, an arrogant science professor who just found out he’s won the Nobel Prize. But before he can accept the award, he learns his ne’er do well son, Barkley (Bryan Greenberg), has been kidnapped and the family must pony up $2 million to get him back alive.
Professor Michaelson seems more put off by his celebration being short-lived than the chance he may never see his son again.
The kidnapping is just part of a much bigger plot which includes multiple perfect crimes, some nasty business involving severed thumbs and a few unresolved daddy issues.
“Nobel Son” defies being taken at face value. Little of the story makes sense on the surface, and the bleakly comic aspects only intensify the film’s surreal side.
And boy, is it loud. Punishing music kicks in every other scene, as the camera bobs and weaves around its colorful cast.
It’s boorish and illogical, but never call it dull. The gifted cast, including Mary Steenburgen, Bill Pullman, Danny De Vito and Ted Danson, keeps the action at the highest professional level. A story so full of holes needs all hands on deck to keep this sinking ship afloat.
“Nobel Son” is the polar opposite to Miller’s recent film, “Bottle Shock.” That indie told a sweet little story about a tiny winery that bested the big boys. There’s nothing remotely sweet about “Nobel Son.”
(Photo: Alan Rickman takes a fateful phone call in the cinematic mess known as “Nobel Son.”)