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MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN – Daniel Pemberton

November 19, 2019 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Motherless Brooklyn is a period drama-thriller written and directed by Edward Norton, based on the acclaimed novel by Jonathan Lethem. It’s set in New York in the 1950s and stars Norton as Lionel Essrog, a detective who has Tourette’s Syndrome, a mental disorder marked by involuntary physical and vocal tics. Essrog works for Frank Minna (Bruce Willis), the owner of a small-time neighborhood detective agency, who is shot with his own gun by unknown assailants. As Lionel and his fellow detectives start to probe further into Frank’s murder they uncover a complicated conspiracy of power, corruption, and racism that stretches all the way to the top of New York’s political structure. The film co-stars Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, and Alec Baldwin, and reminds me very much of films like Chinatown, wherein a relentless underdog detective takes on the wealthy and privileged and finds that the combination of money and influence is a powerful motivator for unscrupulous men – and that they will squash anyone who gets in their way to attain them. Norton optioned the story of Motherless Brooklyn almost 20 years ago, just after the original novel was published, and it has taken this long to be able to transfer his passion project to the silver screen. Read more…