6.8/10
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254 user 155 critic

Motherless Brooklyn (2019)

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2:40 | Trailer
In 1950s New York, a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend.

Director:

Edward Norton

Writers:

Jonathan Lethem (based on the novel by), Edward Norton (screenplay)
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Popularity
320 ( 113)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Norton ... Lionel Essrog
Gugu Mbatha-Raw ... Laura Rose
Alec Baldwin ... Moses Randolph
Bobby Cannavale ... Tony Vermonte
Willem Dafoe ... Paul
Bruce Willis ... Frank Minna
Ethan Suplee ... Gilbert Coney
Cherry Jones ... Gabby Horowitz
Dallas Roberts ... Danny Fantl
Josh Pais ... William Lieberman
Radu Spinghel Radu Spinghel ... Giant Man
Fisher Stevens ... Lou
Peter Gray Lewis ... Mayor (as Peter Lewis)
Robert Wisdom ... Billy Rose (as Robert Ray Wisdom)
Michael Kenneth Williams ... Trumpet Man
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Storyline

Set against the backdrop of 1950s New York, "Motherless Brooklyn" follows Lionel Essrog (Norton), a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome, as he ventures to solve his friend's murder. Armed only with a few clues and the powerful engine of his obsessive mind, Lionel unravels closely-guarded secrets that hold the fate of the whole city in the balance. Written by Warner Bros.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout including some sexual references, brief drug use, and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alec Baldwin's character Moses Randolph is based on real life city planner Robert Moses. Moses is largely to blame for the Brooklyn Dodgers leaving Brooklyn for Los Angeles. The Dodgers leaving Brooklyn is mentioned once in the movie on the radio and hinted at later when Randolph mentions a baseball team playing where he says. See more »

Goofs

When Alec Baldwin' character exits the pool (at around 22nd minute) his hair is wet. Just two seconds later (change of the shot) his hair is clearly dry. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lionel Essrog: [narrating] Frank always used to say, "Tell your story walkin', pal." He was more philosophical than your average gumshoe, but he liked to do his talkin' on the move, so here's how it all went down. I got somethin' wrong with my head. That's the first thing to know.
Lionel Essrog: [real life] If!
Lionel Essrog: [narrating] It's like having glass in the brain. I can't stop pickin' things apart... twistin' 'em around, reassembling 'em. Words and sounds, especially. It's like an itch that has to be scratched.
Gilbert Coney: [...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Shauna Lyn... this is yours as much as mine. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Joe Rogan Experience: Edward Norton (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Daily Battles
Written by Thom Yorke
Performed by Thom Yorke and Flea
See more »

User Reviews

 
A Calm, Engaging Mystery
11 September 2019 | by kjproulxSee all my reviews

Edward Norton, by most film fans, has been and will always be known as one of the best actors out there. Appearing in classics like Fight Club and more modern masterpieces like Birdman, he's never been one to pick a bad project on purpose. Motherless Brooklyn marks his latest leading role, while also directing and writing. As ambitious and difficult as that is, he has pulled it off quite well. Motherless Brooklyn is a very well-made period piece.

Set in the 1950s, this film follows Lionel(Edward Norton) after the murder of his closest friend and colleague. Hellbent on discovering who the killer is, he finds himself on a paper trail across Brooklyn, never giving up on his plan. Being someone who also happens to suffer from Tourette Syndrome, he is a character that has a lot of depth to get behind. Personally, this particular character needed a great performance in order to be authentic, which is where this film shines the most.

It's been a while since I've seen Edward Norton this committed to delivering a powerful performance. There are hardly any instances where he feels like he doesn't actually suffer from this condition. His devotion is what kept me engaged because the overall story does slightly meander at times. At nearly two and a half hours, this film can feel its length at times, but that's simply due to the fact that this movie cares about its characters and spends a lot of time on long conversations, some of which do lead to revelations though.

Based on a book, this screenplay here definitely feels inspired and the voiceover work by Norton calms the viewers throughout, making for a sort of relaxing experience. In addition to that, the use of classical and jazz music is so much in the forefront that it nearly became a character of its own in the film. I really admired that aspect. Still, the overall movie doesn't leave too much for the audience to figure out, since the narration does lend a hand.

In the end, Motherless Brooklyn is a really, really solid crime mystery that has the perfect setting and feel for this sort of premise. I found myself completely engrossed in this world and was eager to see where the movie ended up. Edward Norton gives an award-worthy performance and his direction only adds to that, making for a great overall movie. Motherless Brooklyn may be meant for a more mature audience as it is quite niche in terms of the nature of the story, which may lend itself better to an older crowd. Even so, I quite enjoyed myself.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

1 November 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Motherless Brooklyn See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,500,454, 3 November 2019

Gross USA:

$9,277,736

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,477,736
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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