Motherless Brooklyn (2019) - Rotten Tomatoes

Motherless Brooklyn2019

Motherless Brooklyn (2019)



Critic Consensus: Motherless Brooklyn's imposing length requires patience, but strong performances and a unique perspective make this a mystery worth investigating.

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Movie Info

Set against the backdrop of 1950s New York, "Motherless Brooklyn" follows Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton), a lonely private detective living with Tourette Syndrome, as he ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Bruce Willis). Armed only with a few clues and the engine of his obsessive mind, Lionel unravels closely-guarded secrets that hold the fate of the whole city in the balance. In a mystery that carries him from gin-soaked jazz clubs in Harlem to the hard-edged slums of Brooklyn and, finally, into the gilded halls of New York's power brokers, Lionel contends with thugs, corruption and the most dangerous man in the city to honor his friend and save the woman who might be his own salvation.

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Bruce Willis
as Frank Minna
Edward Norton
as Lionel Essrog
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Critic Reviews for Motherless Brooklyn

All Critics (214) | Top Critics (39)

If that sounds worthy, well-meaning and incredibly dull, I can only say that Norton makes it work, spinning it into a twisting narrative that, admittedly, does require your concentration.

February 25, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

The rest is a sluggish film noir pastiche (the setting of the novel has been inexplicably shifted from the late Nineties to the Fifties) that aims to emulate the jazzy intrigue of Chinatown, but delivers only clichés and screen-chewing vanity.

December 9, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

As it is, his passionate commitment to the story has resulted in the very definition of a vanity project.

December 6, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Its homage to film noir is over-the-top and borderline parodic -- at times, it's more Who Framed Roger Rabbit? than Chinatown.

December 6, 2019 | Rating: 2/5

It took Norton two decades to get Motherless Brooklyn made, and the result is a film that's wondrously out of time: one in which the hero isn't out to save the world, just understand it.

December 5, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

A bloated, 145-minute crime flick with a gimmicky protagonist investigating a cliché-prone murder-and-corruption plot.

December 4, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

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