Warner Bros. | Release Date: November 1, 2019
7.3
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 125 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
86
Mixed:
33
Negative:
6
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8
uhbroncofanNov 6, 2019
Great film with a great cast. Has a little bit of pacing issues but I feel like that’s almost to be expected in movies like these. Loved the jazz throughout.
4 of 4 users found this helpful40
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10
TheSeekerFoxDec 21, 2019
It's a well executed experience with a great cast and an intriguing story in a setting and with a music that gives you a unique mixture of a lot of different worlds
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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8
HollywoodGleeNov 27, 2019
Motherless Brooklyn, a crime, drama film noir throwback by Edward Norton, tells the story of a gumshoe detective with Tourettes Syndrome, a disorder characterized by involuntary tics, investigating the death of his boss, mentor and adoptiveMotherless Brooklyn, a crime, drama film noir throwback by Edward Norton, tells the story of a gumshoe detective with Tourettes Syndrome, a disorder characterized by involuntary tics, investigating the death of his boss, mentor and adoptive father figure, Frank Minnis, played by Bruce Willis. Edward Norton wrote, directed, starred and produced the film.

Edward Norton in Warner Brothers Pictures MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN. (Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures)



A passion project twenty years in the making, Motherless Brooklyn, attempts to re-imagine the famed film noir era. While most noir films were black and white, Norton chose to showcase his work in color. And with a cast including Leslie Mann, Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Bobby Cannavale, Alec Baldwin, and Willem Dafoe, I can certainly understand and appreciate his decision with the film's colorful characters. Norton's performance as Lionel Essrog, the Tourette detective, reminded me of Norton's Oscar-nominated performance as Roy/Aaron in the 1996 crime drama, Primal Fear. It's every bit as impressive though seemingly carries a lighter psychological heft.

Alec Baldwin, left, and Edward Norton in Warner Brothers Pictures MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN. (Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures)

In Motherless Brooklyn, Lionel finds his legs in the world of detective investigations after the death/murder of his boss/mentor and adoptive father figure, Frank Minna. Driven to find the truth, Lionel navigates various scenes and worlds of New York City in the 1950s with a rock-hard determination as the film's peripheral characters are uninterested in who killed Frank Minna. Rather, each character has his or her selfish interests to pursue. Lionel, on the other hand, is steadfast and goes to any lengths to pursue the truth going so far as to impersonate a prominent and well-known New York Times newspaper reporter.

Edward Norton in Warner Brothers Pictures MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN. (Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures)

Norton's character, Lionel, carries the film from start to finish. Utilizing a traditional, signature noir element, the narrative voice-over, Lionel fills the audience in on background elements as the film dives, reminiscent of Roman Polanski's Chinatown, into a world of gangland violence and shady real estate deals within a flourishing underground entertainment scene.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw, left, and Edward Norton in Warner Brothers Pictures MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN. (Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures)

Several other aspects of the film push the work into the apex of top films. The film's musical score by Daniel Pemberton takes a seat with the Miles Davis score in Elevator to the Gallows. Wynton Marsalis and Michael K. Williams deliver an astonishing, melodic trumpeting as Lionel and Gugu Mbatha-Raw's character, Laura, a community, housing fairness activist, share a heartfelt, tender moment. The costuming from Amy Roth, the cast of characters by Avy Kaufman and production design from Beth Mickle qualify the film as a solid period piece set in the 1950's New York City. And while the mise-en-scene appears simple, it works magically with the calm, cool, polished voice-over narrative of a retrospective Lionel. Interestingly, Norton collaborated heavily with two-time Oscar nominee, Cinematographer Dick Pope.

Edward Norton, right, and Willem Dafoe, center, in Warner Brothers Pictures MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN. (Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures)

Granted, with an A-list cast of Hollywood actors, Norton's directorial work would seem to be a walk in the park. Yet, Norton not only directed the film, but he also played the lead role adapting the Jonathan Lethem prize-winning novel of the same name to the screen, and was a major producing partner.

With a run time of 144 minutes, Motherless Brooklyn, comes in on time. Some editing and production choices allowed an emotional peek into the "broken brain" of Lionel and his coming to terms with his Tourettes that some viewers might find unsettling. Undoubtedly, the film, a Warner Brothers Picture production, is a vehicle for Edward Norton to showcase his talents. Yet, it also sheds light on a ruthless period in the urban planning of New York City providing illumination into today's socio-economic/political environment. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
conicalcurveJan 9, 2020
ESTA PELICUL APARENTEMENTE FUECRITICADA POR PUROS SACO WEAS QUE LE CHUPAN EL PIPCO AL JOKER Y NO QUIEREN ACEPTAR QUE "IF" ESTA PROBABLEMENTE, SEA DE LO MEJOR DE LOS DEBUT DE DIRECTORES EN EL GENERO DE MISTERIO PD: FINCHER TEN CUIDADO
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
alexshNov 2, 2019
Motherless Brooklyn and the Joker are two main Oscar contenders this year. Each of these movies brings a very powerful message to its audience. Be sure to check it out in theaters.
4 of 5 users found this helpful41
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10
CSNYNov 5, 2019
A thriller in the classic noir style. Norton delivers a great performance worthy of an Oscar nomination. Stylish and sleek!
4 of 5 users found this helpful41
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8
gereihingNov 4, 2019
I scored the movie high because the acting was great (especially Ed Norton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw). The storyline was coherent and you could follow but the pace was noticeably plodding. I would wait till this comes out Pay per View, but I wouldI scored the movie high because the acting was great (especially Ed Norton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw). The storyline was coherent and you could follow but the pace was noticeably plodding. I would wait till this comes out Pay per View, but I would not miss it. It was a good movie just slow enough to make it borderline tiring. Expand
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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10
Jerome_KirbyNov 1, 2019
Don't look at all those ratings. Those are the bots who try to undermine the film's quality. Be sure - the movie is nice, nearly 9 out of 10. I give it 10 only 'cause some "bad people on the right" decided to bury it and promote JokerDon't look at all those ratings. Those are the bots who try to undermine the film's quality. Be sure - the movie is nice, nearly 9 out of 10. I give it 10 only 'cause some "bad people on the right" decided to bury it and promote Joker instead. That's the truth, though it may sound like a conspiracy theory at first. Just visit all the user's profiles on this page and check their stats. Everybody is literally the same person who has 14 ratings, who writes only 2 reviews (regarding Motherless Brooklyn and Arctic Dogs), giving the movies mad 'zeroes'. And then, there's Joker, rated by them with 10/10. So.. the conclusion: bots, darn! Expand
8 of 13 users found this helpful85
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10
GinaKNov 7, 2019
A film reminiscent of Roman Polansky’s magnificent noir “Chinatown,” “Motherless Brooklyn” is an interesting and beautifully acted film about political corruption, directed by and starring Edward Norton. Although I found the detective’sA film reminiscent of Roman Polansky’s magnificent noir “Chinatown,” “Motherless Brooklyn” is an interesting and beautifully acted film about political corruption, directed by and starring Edward Norton. Although I found the detective’s Tourette’s Syndrome more distracting and annoying than effective, the plot is well-handled and the supporting cast generally excellent. Expand
2 of 4 users found this helpful22
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8
shoulderoforionOct 16, 2020
This movie was great, if not a bit rough around the edges. Ed Nortons love letter to NYC, the production was surprisingly shoddy with more than a few modern out of place buildings/sets for a story told in the 1950's, the acting/directing aThis movie was great, if not a bit rough around the edges. Ed Nortons love letter to NYC, the production was surprisingly shoddy with more than a few modern out of place buildings/sets for a story told in the 1950's, the acting/directing a bit wooden in places, but overall a real nice flick. Recommended. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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9
slant_notNov 11, 2019
I wonder what score reviewers would give if they knew how much of this movie is true? For example Robert Moses (on whom the character of Moses Randolph is based) really did decree that the bridges out to Coney Island should be low enough thatI wonder what score reviewers would give if they knew how much of this movie is true? For example Robert Moses (on whom the character of Moses Randolph is based) really did decree that the bridges out to Coney Island should be low enough that buses - carrying black New Yorkers - couldn't fit under them. And he really did invent those powerful entities called "authorities" so that he would have more power than the mayor. But that's not what makes this movie so good. What really elevates this film is the directing, the storyline and the uniformly good ensemble acting. Oh - and add Edward Norton's masterful performance as Lionel. All in all, this is simply an enjoyable, satisfying and important film. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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8
eagleeyevikingFeb 14, 2020
"Motherless Brooklyn" is a relaxing and engaging mystery noir that reinforces Edward Norton as a talent in front and behind the cameras.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
MaxPayneIsGodMar 27, 2022
Grossly underappreciated. Phenomenally acted, really well written.
Echoes of Chinatown but there's nothing wrong with that.
There is no reason that this movie should be as under appreciated as it is.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
alejandro970Nov 24, 2019
The efforts of Edward Norton as orchestra man (actor, director, writer and producer) are admirable. The story of an asocial detective who tries to find out who and why killed his mentor looks like -almost- the unknown son of Chinatown. WithThe efforts of Edward Norton as orchestra man (actor, director, writer and producer) are admirable. The story of an asocial detective who tries to find out who and why killed his mentor looks like -almost- the unknown son of Chinatown. With that not negligible cast, it's too hard not check out. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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8
RockySpectrumDec 10, 2019
Was looking forward to it ever since the trailer released. Watched it today. Liked it. Wasn't disappointed at all. Although there's still something missing, not enough tension, perhaps. It was really interesting to watch, but the plot is tooWas looking forward to it ever since the trailer released. Watched it today. Liked it. Wasn't disappointed at all. Although there's still something missing, not enough tension, perhaps. It was really interesting to watch, but the plot is too 'easy', it isn't gripping enough. Feels like it could be better.

Anyway, I recommend everyone to see it, it deserves the credit! The actors performed wonderfully: I saw the characters, not actors playing somebody else. Can't wait to see it again, this time at home!

P.S.: I really don't know where all the negative reviews are from. I can't get those who fall asleep in cinemas. I just can't. And perhaps, the moderators should check the accounts for bots or smth.
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0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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7
DeanomiteJan 16, 2020
I really like the idea of a protagonist with Tourettes, it requires everyone to see past his faults or have no relationship. The photography by Dick Pope was very nice, his biggest success being Happy Go Lucky. Ed Norton has apparentlyI really like the idea of a protagonist with Tourettes, it requires everyone to see past his faults or have no relationship. The photography by Dick Pope was very nice, his biggest success being Happy Go Lucky. Ed Norton has apparently tried for 20 years to get this made, an update on Chinatown of sorts. Bruce Willis is always good but far underused, Alec Baldwin same story-he is much better without anxiety. I think all these characters could have been elevated by coping with his Tourettes instead of ignoring it, maybe restraining themselves from mocking or defending him more. I am guessing the success of Birdman made this possible. I agree it is a vanity project, as such maybe the Ed Norton Character should have been less central. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
tfonias74Feb 1, 2020
Old style film noir with great story and characters.
The best performance (and direction) from Edward Norton in ages!
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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7
BulgarianCriticJan 25, 2021
This was surprisingly a really good movie. The best part of it was of course the acting with such a great cast of actors that is pretty normal but the guy who played the main character who had tourette syndrome did an exceptional play, he wasThis was surprisingly a really good movie. The best part of it was of course the acting with such a great cast of actors that is pretty normal but the guy who played the main character who had tourette syndrome did an exceptional play, he was so good that I almost had to stop and google if he really had it that's just how amazing he was at playing that role. The story was a pretty decent one with a weak ''reveal'' which was fine I guess , I enjoyed the fact that it was also pretty realistic and that the ones that have the power will continue to have it. Some parts were really slow and our guy kept getting knocked out which was getting kinda annoying after the first time but overall a pretty decent movie. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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10
CassayJan 29, 2021
I really enjoyed the movie. Sound, decorations, acting..Everything was off the charts.
Hope to see more movies from Edward Norton in the future.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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10
JsjnwJan 18, 2020
Just a great movie! Great cast, awesome atmosphere. Especially great game by Edward Norton. I advise the film
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
FreDerbauJan 18, 2020
Very good pace of a good mystery story... And best of all are the images, during the movie I told mybwife: I could watch this movie even just for the magnificent lighting, each shot was well studied and carried out... Seriously, this movieVery good pace of a good mystery story... And best of all are the images, during the movie I told mybwife: I could watch this movie even just for the magnificent lighting, each shot was well studied and carried out... Seriously, this movie should at least get an eversgebabkvd 7.5 or 8. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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10
fu3ntesJan 19, 2020
I simply can't agree or support the mixed or negative reviews this got by critics. Thoroughly enjoyed this film. great feel throughout the movie, and the soundtrack is now in my playlist for life. Edward poured his heart into this project andI simply can't agree or support the mixed or negative reviews this got by critics. Thoroughly enjoyed this film. great feel throughout the movie, and the soundtrack is now in my playlist for life. Edward poured his heart into this project and the work is exceptional. truly hope this gets the recognition it highly deserves. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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7
geewahNov 3, 2021
In the vain of "Chinatown" and "L.A. Confidential" this P.I. mystery is an enjoyable watch even though at times it is a bit middling and it is a bit bloated.
Norton's performance is central to this movie and he does a great job as the lead Lionel.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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7
mikesgold2KFeb 8, 2022
z jednej strony ciekawy i dobrze zagrany, z drugiej zaś moim zdaniem nieco zbyt rozwleczony oraz zbyt prosty i przewidywalny. Przynajmniej klimat na plus
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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