I got threads in my head. I got threads in my head, man. Edward Norton is a great actor but I’ve never seen him as a director. I thought Motherless Brooklyn looked like an interesting noir of sorts, with a man with Tourettes in the lead role. The film looks nice and stylish, has a wonderful score, and great performances, but it is overlong and gets lost in its own narrative to ever really work, unfortunately.
The film is about a private investigator with Tourette Syndrome, who witnesses his boss’s demise and then must piece together clues left behind to figure out who is behind it. This man, named Lionel Essrog, is very smart and has a great attention to detail and information. However, he is held back by his various ticks and his inappropriate verbal outbursts. He gets mixed with danger and finds love in 1950’s New York City.
I’m sorry but I found a lot of Edward Norton’s afflictions in this film funny. Not sure if it was intentional but the moment’s he says inappropriate thing is hilarious. I think Norton is really good in this movie. Its definitely a passion project for Norton and something he wanted to get going for years. Unfortunately, as stylish and beautiful the film is, its most certainly hampered by its long running length and somewhat dull passages.
I kept clock checking the film after an hour or so and kept thinking of things that could have been left on the cutting floor. I appreciate the noir elements and the call back to NYC during the 50’s but it gets boring and confusing after a while and you find yourself wanting a way out of Motherless Brooklyn. Still, Norton does a good job behind the camera though the script could have used some revision and cutting.