Nobel Son (2008)

Genre(s): Comedy / Crime / Drama / Mystery
Fox || R - 110 minutes - $19.99 || June 9, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-06-05

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Randall Miller
Writer(s): Randall Miller & Jody Savin (written by)
Cast: Alan Rickman, Bryan Greenberg, Shawn Hatosy, Mary Steenburgen, Bill Pullman, Eliza Dushku, Danny DeVito, Ted Danson, Ernie Hudson

Theatrical Release Date: December 5, 2008

Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Trailers

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Barkley Michaelson (Bryan Greenberg) is struggling through life, trying to finish a thesis while dealing with an a-hole egotistical father, Eli (Alan Rickman), whose sense of self righteousness only grows when he wins the Nobel Prize. After a night of glorious and crazy sex with a woman he only knows as City Hall (Eliza Dushku), Bryan is kidnapped by Thaddeaus James (Shawn Hatosy), a man who claims to be Bryanís half-brother. James has kidnapped Bryan for a $2 million ransom which Eli is set to receive for getting the Nobel Prize.

** Minor Plot Spoilers **

Nobel Son was actually a surprisingly quick and well orchestrated mystery-thriller that never gets tiresome nor entirely ridiculous (there are moments, but I felt I could overlook them). If you can get into these characters and their situations, you can handle these scenes. For example, there is one scene in which (off camera), one of the characters manages to disassemble and reassemble a car into a small apartment. Some may find that stupid, but was still very funny.

** End Spoilers **

In any case, the movie features some good, though not outstanding, performances from Bryan Greenberg, Alan Rickman (in his usual British snobbery form), the underappreciated Mary Steenburgen, Bill Pullman and Eliza Dushku in a painfully small role. But this really is more Greenbergís movie and he does an acceptable job leading the ensemble through some truly weird semi-psychedelic scenes.

If the movie had one fault, and some may feel itís large, it was the use of Paul Oakenfeldís music. I love his music; I own a few of his CDs. Heck, even his contribution on 2001ís Swordfish was pretty cool, but I found some of his music a tad annoying and sometimes out of place. I do appreciate when a filmmaker goes outside of the box with some of his or her choices, but this didnít work all too well, but also didnít deter from my enjoyment of the film.

Nobel Son was co-written and directed by Randall Miller (Bottle Shock) and also features Danny DeVito, Ted Danson and Ernie Hudson, all in smaller supporting roles.


Given the movie was originally filmed in 2007 and not released to theaters (in limited form) in late 2008, the fact thereís anything of substance is surprising.

First up is a feature commentary with Co-writer/Director Randall Miller, Co-writer/Producer Jody Savin, Director of Photography Mike Ozier and Actors Bryan Greenberg and Eliza Dushku (who also did one for Bottle Shock, btw).

Next up are three basic deleted scenes (4:45) and a standard featurette (13:00) on the making of the film including where the idea came from.

Last up is the Redband Trailer (2:37) and the regular, and edited, theatrical trailer (2:27).


Nobel Son is presented with a 2.35 aspect ratio and while I do appreciate the lack of noise, grain and other imperfections (it was actually fairly impressive), other parts of the film looked overexposed with the bleeding of various colors that come off the screen. This could very well have been the directorís intentions, however.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 actually packs quite the bunch especially in the bass department. Still, dialogue sounds very good and ambient noise could be heard via the other channels as well. Itís not an overly grand audio experience, but one of the better Iíve heard on DVD in a while.


Nobel Son may be one of the more surprising movies Iíve seen recently and probably right next to another great and fairly unknown film, Brick. Some may find the plot to be ridiculous but I for one was hooked in from beginning to end and have little problem recommending this for at the very least, a rental.