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  • Writer's pictureStrictly Films

Motherless Brooklyn Hot Diggity Paddle Whack Dog... Good Movie Grade: B

Source: IMDB

Motherless Brooklyn is about a detective Lionel (Edward Norton) whom has problems in his head. He’ll randomly say random things out loud, as he also has a twitching problem along with it. Lionel just lost his dear friend/mentor Frank (Bruce Willis) as he was gunned down after a car chase. Lionel is on the case as to why his friend was murdered, while trying to solve the case... It gets much more deeper than a personal matter. Witness racial discrimination, political corruption, and greed take place behind the scenes from a local politician. The Cinematography was solid, I enjoyed the shots of 1950’s Brooklyn in this film, kind of reminded me of a Woody Allen style film. I enjoyed the costume design and set design, it all felt authentic to this time period in New York, truly enjoyed both of those aspects. The Score was solid as well, nice mellow jazz music. Thom Yorke came out with an original song for this film called Daily Battles, as I recognized it was Thom Yorke from the moment I heard him sing the song. Thom Yorke made one of the best Score’s in Suspiria last year, getting rightfully robbed for a nomination. Thom Yorke continues his strong run in making music for film as I thought Daily Battles is a solid tune, I’m not sure it’ll be nominated but it’s certainly a lovely tune. The cast of this film I thought were reasonably good, a couple bad eggs but the rest of the batch were just fine. Edward Norton playing the detective Lionel was pretty solid. Some may get reasonably annoyed with this character, due to the fact of his random rambling that he can’t control. I liked how Edward Norton handled this performance, it didn’t feel annoying like I thought he would, he maintain to keep me caring about the character itself and be interested in his whereabouts, in finding answers of why his beloved friend got gunned down. Gugu Mbatha-Raw playing Laurel Rose was pretty good, the character itself brought more meaning into Lionel’s detective work and made him a more complete character. I thought Willem DaFoe was pretty good as always, it was a fairly limited role, but this guy really can’t go wrong at all, very intriguing character he plays too. Alec Baldwin played a reasonably good performance as the corrupt politician. Time to discuss the bad eggs of this film. I thought Bruce Willis was absolutely terrible in this film, which brings me this question: Does he care anymore?! Every other performance from the past few years he just looks extremely tired, bored, and just doesn’t give a damn anymore... What happened?! I mean if you don’t care about any of your roles, it’s simple: RETIRE! Believe it or not the film gotten better when he stops appearing in this film, it’s like watching a walking corpse for crying out loud. Leslie Mann appears in the film a couple scenes as I’m truly happy that was it, her performance was pretty bad. She tries to pull off this New York accent and it just comes off embarrassing, stick to cheap comedies. A couple other flaws to mention. Some scenes drag on too long than they should have. I also thought a good portion of the film can be a little wonky, like some things are unclear at times. Maybe Norton wanted the audience to feel that way due to Lionel’s condition, who knows. At 50 years old, this is Edward Norton’s first film he ever written and directed at the same time. What can be made out of Motherless Brooklyn?! For me it’s an ole fashion classic detective story that your grandfather heard on the radio back in the day. I was actually surprised that this was that kind of film, I expected something different. With that surprise I do say I genuinely like this film. The story itself is pretty simple and kind of your basic detective storyline, with a couple of rare entertaining moments. It kept me interested for the most part, as I was engaged in Lionel’s journey. I like how Lionel became a better detective and a better person at the end of the film. Though his detective work was suppose to be for selfish reasons, it became something much more bigger than his own personal needs. He basically found a great amount of dirt behind a politician that was against colored people, whom would do an act like building parks just to get away with the corruption. So it was lovely to see Lionel standing up against much important things, while partaking in trying to understand why his friend got killed, in a way it felt like he found himself during the process. For Lionel life it isn’t so high up for him. His co workers would get rather annoyed with him and women can’t take him seriously. All Lionel had was Frank and his cat, so he was a very lonely and at times sad man. But with this case: It felt like he was growing more as an independent man, that can find happiness in the life he lives. For a written/directed debut: This was good. Overall, Motherless Brooklyn is a solid detective film. I recommend this film, not for everyone especially young folks, but if you like old school detective films... This one can work for you. -Mitch Smietana

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