Small Screen Reviews
Motherless Brooklyn Review
What’s It About?
The owner of a private detective agency is killed in 1950s New York, and one of his apprentices, a PI who suffers from Tourettes, is determined to solve the mystery which may incriminate some powerful figures.
Who’s In It?
Ed Norton (American History X, Fight Club, The Incredible Hulk, & more recently Isle Of Dogs)
Bruce Willis (Die Hard 1-5, Pulp Fiction, The Sixth Sense, & more recently Glass)
Other notables include:
Alec Baldwin (Glengarry Glen Ross, 30 Rock, The Departed, & more recently Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation & Fallout)
Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle, Concussion, A Wrinkle In Time, & more recently The Morning Show)
Director: Edward Norton (Keeping The Faith)
Almost two decades in the making, Edward Norton’s second foray in the director’s chair, following Keeping The Faith, really has been a labour of love.
Based on the nobel by Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn follows the trials and tribulations of private detective and rank outsider Lionel Essrog – a man with a fine brain who is afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome meaning he is rarely taken seriously and nicknamed Freakshow.
Nevertheless when his boss and mentor Frank Minna is bumped off after getting too close to a story, Lionel is the only guy left in the office determined to look into it. As he delves deeper, taking a few beatings along the way, he uncovers a tale of greed and corruption that goes right to the top.
Aside from writing, directing and producing, Edward Norton also takes on the lead role of Essrog, with carefully developed ticks and mannerisms reminiscent of his performance in The Score, delivering a powerful lead performance.
And he has managed to call in a few favours from an array of talents including the likes of Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Leslie Mann.
Set in the 1950s, Motherless Brooklyn is beautifully shot and carefully crafted with more than a few nods to those classic film noirs such as The Maltese Falcon or even Chinatown, however, running at close to two and a half hours, it is very much a slow potboiler.
In a Nutshell:
Top-notch performances and great attention to detail ensure that this slow potboiler holds the attention.
The classic 1950s look & attention to detail
It’s a real slow burner – perhaps too slow
Release date: 13/04/2020