The story of an arrogant professor reluctant to pay ransom for his kidnapped child, Nobel Son is a mixed bag, with “moments of vengeance-filled enjoyment but also a sense of tonal haphazardness,” writes Robert Abele in the LA Times. “Signal-flare plotting” reveals a less-than-perfect screenplay, but “the large, eclectic cast has its virtues,” Abele notes.
He warns of “egregious flash-edit tricks and sped-up camera moves,” and Manohla Dargis, writing in the New York Times, agrees. It’s an “aggressively noisy exercise in style over substance,” she observes. “From story to casting, Nobel Son feels designed for mockery.” But Roger Ebert writes in the Chicago Sun-Times that “it's all entertaining” and “the plot is ingenious,” even if it’s hard to keep up with.