Motherless Brooklyn Review
First off, don’t be looking for any spoilers here. There aren’t any. This is a detective movie. Slowly let it unravel, sit back and enjoy yourself!
I can’t even tell you how big the shoes are that had to be filled by the cinematic version of Motherless Brooklyn. The book (upon which Edward Norton based his screenplay) is a beloved gumshoe detective novel by Jonathan Lethem. I was hoping that Norton would be up for the task. I believed he would be since he loved the source material and has been trying to make this movie for 20 years. I am happy to report that his vision is a great adaptation of the 1999 novel. Sure, some things are different. Very different, actually. But it is still a great movie. The 1950’s in New York come alive under Norton and it is very entertaining.
Edward Norton not only directs his adaptation but he also plays the lead role of Lionel Essrog, a small time private eye/henchman/driver with Tourette Syndrome. This may seem an odd attribute for the protagonist of this adventure, but it lends itself well to the overall story. Yes, he may yell out at odd times but he is blessed with excellent memory and a brain that will make everything right even when it appears so very wrong. Norton enlisted many fine actors to help him bring this very personal movie to the screen: Bruce Willis as Lionel’s mentor, Willem Dafoe as an enigmatic figure, Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays the key to the mystery, Alec Baldwin as the super villian, Michael Kenneth Williams as a savvy musician, and Bobby Cannavale is his coworker and friend.
One little warning about Motherless Brooklyn- at just under two and half hours it is a LONG movie (and when you throw in the previews? OH MY!). This usually makes Movie Myla very grumpy and you will have to listen to long tirades about butt -numbing scenes and bad editing. In the case of Motherless Brooklyn, I’ll allow it.