Motherless Brooklyn

Movie Information

Edward Norton's noir passion project is consistently good but never aspires to greatness.
Genre: Drama/Crime
Director: Edward Norton
Starring: Edward Norton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Willem Dafoe
Rated: R

Written and directed by Edward Norton and starring the acclaimed actor as a private eye with Tourette’s syndrome, Motherless Brooklyn is all-around good enough but never aspires to greatness.

That’s a shame, considering what a more imaginative filmmaker could do with this labyrinthine, Chinatown-light story of murder and corruption in 1950s New York City. Instead, Norton (whose verbal tics quickly grow tiresome) and his all-star cast — including Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin and Cherry Jones — seem content to play dress-up amid convincing period details, solving the myriad connected mysteries without expelling more effort than what’s required.

The results are, of course, nowhere near the highs of the Polanski classic — which may never be exceeded — but for an honorable homage, viewers could do a lot worse.

About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA).

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