Tribeca ’07: Nobel Son (review)
You’re lucky you’re not a genius.
It’s one of those perfect-crime kinda flicks, wrapped up in familial angst as a black-comedy topping. That it’s all rather ridiculous and overly complicates itself in the process is almost beside the point … though not entirely. See, arrogant college prof and working scientist Eli Michaelson (Alan Rickman: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) has just learned some exciting news — he has won the Nobel Prize — and some not-so-exciting news: his son, Barkley (Bryan Greenberg: Prime), a PhD candidate who has forsaken his father’s legacy to study — horrors! — another field, has just been kidnapped and, oh yes, his abductors would like Eli to turn over his $2 million prize money in exchange for his son. Eli is disinclined to do so. Writer-director Randall Miller (scriptwriting duties shared with Jody Savin) crams a lot into a flick: marital infidelity, bad poetry, and what is, admittedly, the best use of a Mini Cooper in a crime caper since The Italian Job. Yes, it collapses under the weight of its own presumed cleverness before it’s done wringing you out, but not before Rickman walks away with the movie thanks to his most scenery-chewing, over-the-top, gooey-chocolate performance yet. His Eli is a miserable rotten bastard who deserves everything he gets, and he gets quite a bit.