Motherless Brooklyn (2019)

Lionel Essrog, a private detective living with Tourette syndrome, ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and best friend — a mystery that carries him from the gin-soaked jazz clubs of Harlem to the slums of Brooklyn to the gilded halls of New York's power brokers.

Craft 72%
Artistry 78%
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Reviewed on December 3, 2019 by Jon Kaye


Rated R, Crime, Drama, Mystery, 144 Minutes

Edward Norton's second directorial attempt finds him adapting Jonathan Lethem's 1999 novel, set in contemporary Brooklyn, to 1950's Brooklyn along with a cine-graphic style representative of that period.  The feel is that of a film-noir and Norton is successful in this effort.  The piece largely moves along smoothly and Norton, Defoe, Baldwin, and Willis do a good job in their respective roles. Norton's portrayal of a person with Tourette's syndrome is convincing and effect and adds to the texture of the film.  The story line is strong but the editing of the project is weak and the movie could have been tighter and the result more engaging for the viewer. Interestingly, Norton shot the film in 45 days and the principal major stars all worked for free.  Also, many of the cast have acted in various Wes Anderson  films.    

What I Liked
  • Beautiful cinematography
  • Nice, warm, feel of a noir film
  • Strong performances by the actors
What I Didn’t
  • Needs better editing
  • Movie feels too long because it is