The Son of No One

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The Son of No One
The Son of No One Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Dito Montiel
Produced by
Written by Dito Montiel
Music by
  • Jonathan Elias
  • David Wittman
Cinematography Benoit Delhomme
Edited by Jake Pushinski
Distributed by Hannibal Pictures
Millennium Films
Nu Image Films
Anchor Bay Films
Release date
  • January 28, 2011 (2011-01-28) (Sundance)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million[1]
Box office $1.1 million[1]

The Son of No One is a 2011 American crime thriller film written by Dito Montiel based on a book of the same name, written by Montiel. The film is Dito Montiel's third collaboration with actor Channing Tatum.[2]


The film takes place in the same Queens police precinct in 1986 and 2002.[3] In 2002, a young cop, Jonathan White, is a rookie officer under Captain Marion Mathers in a Queens neighborhood in New York City, where he grew up. To provide for his wife Kerry and ailing young daughter, he works hard to keep his life on track, but this life is threatened when a dark secret bubbles to the surface. An anonymous source reveals new information about two unsolved murders from 16 years ago. In 1986, Jonathan had killed two men in self-defense. His friends, Vinnie and Vicky, helped him dispose of the bodies and keep their involvement a secret from the authorities, and then Detective Stanford, who was the partner of Jonathan's deceased father, closes the cases, knowing he was involved.

In the present, Jonathan meets with a grown up Vinnie for the first time in years. Anonymous phone calls are being made to Jonathan's home, whose wife receives them. This leads to an increasingly difficult relationship between Jonathan and Kerry. He has contact with Loren Bridges, the reporter who is trying to create a successful newspaper story out of the source material that has been leaked. At a dinner, Jonathan tries to convince her not to publish the story, but she refuses and leaves. Once she leaves the restaurant, she is followed by an unknown assailant and killed. Also, Kerry has received more calls, and Jonathan is forced to admit to her that he was responsible for the killings.

The next morning, Jonathan learns of Loren's death before he receives a call from Captain Mathers who informs him that Jonathan's partner is waiting for him outside. He is taken to Captain Mathers by his corrupt partner and Stanford. Stanford, whom he has not seen since he was a boy, is with him. Mathers shows pictures taken of Jonathan and Loren in the restaurant before she was killed. Jonathan will potentially be framed as her killer, unless he cooperates, as they do not want the department to look bad. The men offer Jonathan the chance to go home and forget about everything that has been done, and they will take care of the situation.

Jonathan heads home but soon turns around and drives to Vinnie's apartment, knowing that the men are going to kill Vinnie, and arrives to find the men about to murder Vinnie on the roof. Jonathan is shot when he attempts to intervene and is held back by his partner. Mathers hands a gun to Vinnie and orders him to kill Jonathan, but Vinnie decides instead to shoot Mathers. Stanford then shoots Vinnie, who falls off of the roof. Stanford tells Jonathan to leave and never to speak of this. Jonathan reluctantly leaves and goes to find Vinnie, who tells him that he never told anyone.

Mathers's death and the two murders in 1986 are blamed on Vinnie, who is portrayed as a mentally unstable murderer in the media. Jonathan tries to carry on a normal life. The movie closes with an older Vicky sending a letter to Jonathan, explaining this will be her last letter—thus identifying herself as the person sending the letters to the newspaper.



Filming took place from February 2010 to April in Astoria, Queens, NY. Several scenes were shot in the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City.[citation needed]


The film was selected to close the 2011 Sundance Film Festival on January 30, 2011. After a poor reception, the film's ending was recut.[4] Anchor Bay secured distribution rights to the film and released it in ten theaters.[5] It grossed $30,680 in the US and a total of $1.1 million worldwide.[1] It was released on DVD in the US on February 19, 2012.[6]


The Son of No One provoked strong reactions at Sundance. Although a private screening for distributors resulted in walkouts, the public showing was more positive.[7] Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 16% of 37 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 3.8/10. The consensus states: "Needless stylistic flourishes and wholly illogical storytelling make The Son of No One a grisly, repugnant journey."[8] Metacritic rated it 36/100 based on 18 reviews.[9] Rob Nelson of Variety wrote, "Montiel's awkward appropriation of gritty crime-drama conventions results in a film that's contrived and implausible, at times absurdly so."[10] John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that it "bounces nicely between two New York eras but is built around an unconvincing premise".[11] Writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert rated it two out of four stars and said that the film "seems to be adding up, but its drama and urgency are without purpose."[12] The New York Times's Stephen Holden wrote that the film features intense performances but a nonsensical plot.[13]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor Brian Gilbert Nominated [14]


  1. ^ a b c "The Son of No One". The Numbers. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  2. ^ Radish, Christina. "Writer/Director Dito Montiel THE SON OF NO ONE Interview". Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (November 2, 2011). "The Son of No One". Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  4. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (2011-11-03). "Dito Montiel: A guide to recognizing your ambivalence". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  5. ^ Kaufman, Amy (2011-11-04). "Movie Projector: 'Tower Heist' to swipe No. 1 spot from rivals". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  6. ^ Murray, Noel (2012-02-19). "New on DVD". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  7. ^ Kaufman, Amy; Zeitchik, Steven (2011-01-29). "Sundance 2011: 'Son of No One' births a strong reception". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  8. ^ "The Son of No One". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  9. ^ "The Son of No One". Metacritic. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  10. ^ Nelson, Rob (2011-01-26). "Review: 'The Son of No One'". Variety. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  11. ^ DeFore, John (2011-01-29). "SUNDANCE REVIEW: 'The Son of No One' Is a Buried-Secret Cop Drama Full of Holes". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  12. ^ Ebert, Roger (2011-11-02). "The Son of No One". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2015-03-03 – via 
  13. ^ Holden, Stephen (2011-11-03). "The Son of No One (2010)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-03. 
  14. ^ "33rd Annual Young Artist Awards". Archived from the original on April 4, 2012. Retrieved March 31, 2012. 

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