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With his previous work including the award-winning Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School, director Randall Miller shows his ever-growing versatility in this taut thriller spiked with droll humor. Barkley Michaelson (Bryan Greenberg), a Ph.D candidate in Anthropology, is struggling to finish his thesis on cannibalism when his father Eli (Alan Rickman), a philandering, egocentric university professor, wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Having grown up with the pressure bestowed upon him by his father, Barkley has always had to prove himself, and now the award seems to seal Eli's selfproclaimed superiority. His mother Sarah (Mary Steenburgen), a renowned forensic psychiatrist, reminds Barkley to make sure he's on time to their flight to Sweden to collect the prize, but through a series of events, he doesn't quite make it. Rushing back to his parents' home, who have left already, Barkley is kidnapped and ransomed for the $2 million Nobel prize money- which Eli refuses to pay. Things get even more complicated when Barkley discovers a secret connection between himself and his kidnapper (Shawn Hatosy). What follows is series of fast-paced set-ups in which accusations fly, covers are made and blown, and secrets-some about Eli's hidden past-are laid bare. Barkley realizes that he must bury his father's dark past if he is ever going to free himself, and his mother, from Eli's overbearing grasp. In this dysfunctional family drama that's full of twists and turns, Barkley eventually realizes that eating a dead man isn't evil-it's recycling; true evil is eating a man alive. The winning supporting cast includes Bill Pullman, Danny DeVito, Ted Danson and Ernie Hudson.
While at the American Film Institute, RANDALL MILLER made the award-winning short film, Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School. It later became a feature, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was released last year by Samuel Goldwyn Films. Miller has directed numerous television series such as thirtysomething, Northern Exposure, Popular and Jack & Jill, as well as the studio films Houseguest and The Sixth Man. But after finding it difficult to get passionate about the projects he was being offered, Miller and his partner and wife, Jody Savin, set out to create an eccentric thriller about a dysfunctional family, a kidnapping and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.