Motherless Brooklyn

Director/star Edward Norton’s decision to turn Jonathan Lethem’s postmodern neo-noir novel into a literal 1950s-set noir, with jazz music and vintage cars aplenty, is both an asset and a liability. Motherless Brooklyn is easy on the eyes, and the all-star cast conveys the sense—if not the suspense—of a twisty-turny mystery populated by crooks, dames, reporters, jazz musicians, and an ultra-powerful tycoon inspired by infamous New York City developer Robert Moses. But the movie’s overlong and unfocused, too, and there’s almost no emotional purchase, even as stakes escalate.

by Ned Lannamann
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Credits
Director
Edward Norton
Cast
Alec Baldwin, Edward Norton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw