Set in the 1950s New York, a private detective named Lionel (Edward Norton) has Tourette’s Syndrome and is thrown into a world of mystery when his mentor is shot and killed. Lionel’s mentor was also a close friend of his and taught him everything about being a private detective, speaking positively about Lionel as a person along with always praising his skills. Lionel has a great memory and is talented at remembering details that many others would simply forget or not take notice of.
With Lionel’s mentor and friend murdered, Lionel is now on the case to find out who did it and why. He begins to question everyone who knew him and even questions his fellow colleagues and friends who are also private detectives working in the same office. Lionel also recalls his mentor’s last dying moments and the words he used which could mean something to solve the case.
Edward Norton’s performance as Lionel is impressive as the character is incredibly convincing. To my surprise actor Edward Norton also serves as the film’s director and a screen writer. The film is also filled with a great range of supporting actors including Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe, Bobby Cannavale & Bruce Willis. Supporting cast such as Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe were fantastic in this film.
Motherless Brooklyn is certainly a thriller but it is also a crime movie with an element of solid drama. The film sets up its mysteries quite quickly and the relationship between Lionel with his mentor is also believable. The film is loaded with many characters which only kept me guessing who was behind the major crime. The film’s costume design and soundtrack were a standout in this film too.
While I enjoyed the film’s mystery and even the film’s opening and setup, the film certainly moves at a slower pace than I would have preferred. Some elements including big reveals were also predictable. Bruce Willis who is billed highly on the film’s poster is only in this film quite briefly which is expected given the actor’s recent performances in film.
Overall, Motherless Brooklyn is a pleasing, slow-paced crime drama with an added element of mystery and thrills. Edward Norton has done a great job when it comes to leading this film, directing, and serving as a writer. Costumes and Soundtracks are extremely likeable too. The film overall is most certainly positive, but I found the film’s pace was a lot slower than I would have preferred for this type of story. Sadly, some mysteries were predictable to see before they even happened on screen.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden