The Son of No One

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Son of No One Movie Poster Image
Gritty, violent NYC drama is for adults only.
  • R
  • 2011
  • 93 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie's main point seems to be that you can get away with murder if you're a good person.

Positive Role Models

The main character seems to be a good and genuinely caring person, though he has two murders on his conscience, which has left him introverted and selfish. His wife also seems to be good, although she spends most of the movie yelling at her husband. The rest of the characters range from vaguely shady to completely corrupt.


Five on-screen murders and one off-screen murder. Four of them are by gunshot, and blood is shown spurting. There's also a huge puddle of blood from one corpse. A scared, cornered kid shoots and kills one of the victims and accidentally causes the death of another. All of these murders are life-changing events for the main character. There are also many scenes of arguments, yelling, and violent tension, and a man kicks a dog.


One very vivid, disturbing scene: A grown man gives oral sex to a pre-teen boy. Viewers see the act from a distance, and the man's head is shown hovering over the boy's crotch. Another boy witnesses this act.


Very, very strong language includes "f--k" or "motherf----r" in almost every sentence. "S--t," "p---y," "a--hole," "ass," "goddamn," "retarded," "idiot," "fag," and "d--k" are also used. Characters often swear in front of kids.


Various storefronts and signs are seen, including Starbucks and Chase bank.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this gritty police drama set in New York City in the months following 9/11 begins (in flashback) as a scared, cornered young boy shoots and kills a violent man and then accidentally kills another man. There's a good deal of blood, plus several more killings later in the movie and strong verbal violence. Sexual content is limited to once scene, but it's a very disturbing one in which a grown man gives oral sex to a pre-teen boy (the act is shown from a distance, and the man's head is seen hovering over the boy's crotch). Language is nearly constant, with "f--k" in almost every sentence.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAlgren November 5, 2012


Terrible story about a boy who grows up keeping a secret two man-slaughters that he committed, one which was self-defence and the other which was an accident. T... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 March 11, 2012

OK,good crime thriller.

Shows and depicts perfectly the life of NYC corrupt cops and criminals,very powerful and gritty.Well worth my watch.

What's the story?

In 1986, young Jonathan "Milk" White accidentally kills two lowlifes in the New York City's Queensborough projects. His friend Vinnie agrees to keep it secret, though Vinnie also has a disturbing secret of his own. Years later, in 2002, grown-up Jonathan (Channing Tatum) is married with a daughter and works as a New York police officer. Unfortunately, anonymous letters are being sent and published in the paper that relate directly to Jonathan's past. The police captain (Ray Liotta) puts Jonathan on the case, but he may have other reasons for doing so. Who's behind the letters, and how will this past tragedy affect Jonathan's future?

Is it any good?

For his third movie, writer/director Dito Montiel goes out of his way to capture a "true" New York City feel, with lots of honest-to-goodness, run-down streets and buildings, graffiti, and garbage. Unfortunately, he puts less effort into his script. It's hard to believe that a boy could kill two grown men, and it's even harder to believe that Jonathan would spend every second brooding about it. (After a long day of brooding at work, he drives to his old neighborhood so he can sit in his car and brood some more.)

To add more layers of misery, Jonathan's daughter has some kind of worrisome illness, and the story takes place in the months following 9/11. There's no hint as to what Jonathan might have been like when he met and married his wife (Katie Holmes), or why so many characters seem so focused on Jonathan's problems. Moreover, Montiel constantly over-directs and over-edits, underlining certain points that have already been made clear. It's gritty and moody, but with little dramatic effect.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's violence. Is it necessary to the story? How would such a violent childhood affect the main character growing up?

  • Do you consider any of the characters role models? Are they intended to be?

  • Did the police do the right thing in trying to protect Jonathan and cover up his crimes? Is it true that no one cares about his victims?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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