Nobel Son 2007 Movie Scene Alan Rickman as Eli Michaelson arguing with the stewardess on an airplane

Nobel Son [2007]

If you are looking for an easygoing thriller featuring a healthy amount of black humor, you’ve just found it. Nobel Son is an entertaining and highly underrated movie full of twists and great performances. The opening scene is so intriguing that you will feel compelled to watch the rest. We’ve got dead bodies, severed fingers, and all kinds of jigsaw puzzles flying toward us. At the center of this mess is a brilliant scientist who’s also a cheating asshole, Mr. Eli Michaelson. And Eli Just won the Nobel prize in chemistry.

At exactly the same time, his son is kidnapped setting off a weird chain of events that will have even weirder consequences. Alan Rickman was the anchor of Nobel Son and his brilliantly sardonic performance rallied the rest of the cast. Apart from him, we’ve also got Bill Pullman, Ted Danson, and Mary Steenburgen. The dialogue was excellent, not too pushy, and just the right amount cheeky. When you’re making this sort of easygoing black comedy featuring a zany crime plot, it’s very easy to fuck up the atmosphere. Luckily, that didn’t happen here.

Nobel Son is also a great character study showing us what happens when parents push their children toward their visions of what’s best for them. And you know how that goes. When it comes to these “brilliant scientists”, we usually get the same kind of story. A story that feels too doctored to be true. Here, we will get a warm and above all human story about what it’s like to live with these smarty pants. To put it bluntly, Rickman’s character is one of those you love to hate. And since Rickman imbued it with his trademark charm, you can’t help even liking him to some degree.

Eli Michaelson knows he’s much smarter than your average human. And his smug attitude is only bolstered by the actions of those around him. Normal rules of life do not apply to him, so his wife and his son Barkley must put up with quite a lot. He’s a chemistry professor and when he learns that he won the Nobel prize, this will take things to a whole new level. He leaves for Sweden, along with his wife, to receive the award, not knowing that his son has been kidnapped…

Full of quite sharp twists and turns, the pacing of Nobel Son is amazing. Sometimes you can’t quite tell if you’re watching the same movie from a few minutes ago. The only problem with this break-neck speed and volatile characters is the overall sense of order and progression. This is perhaps the movie’s only flaw because it becomes relatively incoherent at moments. With all this shit going on, it’s no wonder. It’s like the movie is trying to surprise you with each scene, only to make you realize that your surprise has been unnecessary because the scene fits in perfectly with the rest of it.

Redeemed by the sheer entertainment factor, dark humor and almighty Rickman, Nobel Son is a movie that you should check out. If for nothing else, then for its unusual style. Finally, if you’re looking for similar movies, The Big Bang starring Antonio Banderas is a pretty good choice.

Director: Randall Miller

Writers: Jody Savin, Randall Miller

Cast: Alan Rickman, Bryan Greenberg, Shawn Hatosy, Bill Pullman, Eliza Dushku, Danny DeVito

Fun Facts: Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson are husband and wife in real life.


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