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'Motherless Brooklyn' review: Despite a stellar star cast, the film feels laboured

At 144 minutes, the movie drags on and loses its impact on the audience.

ET Bureau|
Nov 18, 2019, 02.32 PM IST
0Comments
Agencies
Norton, who wrote, directed, produced and starred in the film, has shifted the story from the ’90s to the ’50s.
Norton, who wrote, directed, produced and starred in the film, has shifted the story from the ’90s to the ’50s.
Genre: Crime,Drama
Rating:
Director: Edward Norton
Cast: Bruce Willis,Willem Dafoe,Bobby Cannavale,Alec Baldwin
Jonathan Lethem’s novel about a private eye with Tourette’s syndrome, 'Motherless Brooklyn', starts with a burst of uncontrolled profanity and an explanation of its protagonist’s condition. While Lethem lets loose a riot of language, but in his adaptation of 'Motherless Brooklyn', Edward Norton has something tidier in mind.

Norton, who wrote, directed, produced and starred in the film, has shifted the story from the ’90s to the ’50s. Lionel Essrog (Norton) is private detective whose mentor Frank Minna (Bruce Willis), is killed in the film’s opening scenes. Lionel throws himself into discovering the murderers, whipping up his fellow detectives — Tony (Bobby Cannavale), Gilbert (Ethan Suplee) and Danny (Dallas Roberts) — to join in the search. Lionel follows a trail of clues that leads him across the metropolis and into a conspiracy that rises to the penthouse-heights of New York power.

Norton gets the mood of the 1950s right, as he does the despair of New York’s condemned colonies. But despite the stellar star cast, the film feels laboured. At 144 minutes, the movie drags on and loses its impact on the audience. Norton, however, is a delight to watch and his character is bound to evoke an array of emotions. Willis, in his brief appearance, makes an impact, and so does the rest of the cast.


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