I love this movie.
I have yet to find anyone else who shares my opinion, but screw it. And yes, I'm probably a bit biased, because I've always been a bit of a Dito Montiel fanboy. 'A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints' is one of my all time favourite films.
'The Son Of No One' crashed at the box office, never made it to the cinema in Europe, and has received negative reviews everywhere.
But it resonates with me. And that's all I can really care about. I'm a fan of Montiel's movies because of how they impact me personally. The emotion in the film is, at least to me, extremely real. And it bugs me that people are slamming the performances of Pacino, Tatum and Katie Holmes, because I think they were fantastic!
As for me being biased; it's because I love the style, I love the stories, I love the team he has around him. The music Jonathan Elias and David Wittman created, it seeps right into me. How to describe it? There's just something about their sound --- the subtlety of it, the rawness. It has truth in it. And you know what I think about Jake Pushinsky's editing. Also, the way the movie was shot by Benoît Delhomme, I felt like I was right there! I felt the same with '..Saints'. Dito has a way of placing you right in the heart of the movie. I didn't grow up in New York, I was never involved in crime; but these movies feel like they were about me. There are precious few filmmakers who can achieve this feeling; and that's why I crave it.
The film seamlessly flows between the present and the past (a similar device was used in 'A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints') - and again, and sorry to overuse this word, but it resonates. It's just the way I am, the way my brain works -- I'm in the present moment but always conscious and present in where I came from, who I was. The structure of this film, the way it's edited, it feels extremely natural to me.
A few issues bugged me at first. I don't know if they had problems with the sound mix, because there was a heap of dialogue I couldn't make sense of. Either it got better after a while, or it stopped being important to me, because I sank right into it and had no complaints.
'The Son Of No One' is like a great crime novel; the character gets deeper and deeper into the shit, to the point where he has nowhere to turn, no-one who can make it okay. And gradually it unfolds that the whole police force is corrupt and working to protect him. The film ends with him having to make a decision -- to figure out where his loyalty lies, and it's riveting.
But look, I'm wise enough to know that if a film gets trashed to the extreme this film has been trashed -- then it must be less than perfect. But I don't see the prejudice of my bias as a bad thing, I just see it for what it is -- I bring myself into the movies I watch. Who I am and how I process the world, and art, it's there in the room with me. And something about 'Son Of No-one', 'A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints' and (to a lesser extent) 'Fighting' really works for me. I respond to the emotion in them, I relate to the characters and the predicaments. Most importantly of all; the watching of these films completely grabs my attention and won't let me go.