Set in the 1950s, this film follows Lionel(Edward Norton) after the murder of his closest friend and colleague. Hellbent on discovering who the killer is, he finds himself on a paper trail across Brooklyn, never giving up on his plan. Being someone who also happens to suffer from Tourette Syndrome, he is a character that has a lot of depth to get behind. Personally, this particular character needed a great performance in order to be authentic, which is where this film shines the most.
It's been a while since I've seen Edward Norton this committed to delivering a powerful performance. There are hardly any instances where he feels like he doesn't actually suffer from this condition. His devotion is what kept me engaged because the overall story does slightly meander at times. At nearly two and a half hours, this film can feel its length at times, but that's simply due to the fact that this movie cares about its characters and spends a lot of time on long conversations, some of which do lead to revelations though.
Based on a book, this screenplay here definitely feels inspired and the voiceover work by Norton calms the viewers throughout, making for a sort of relaxing experience. In addition to that, the use of classical and jazz music is so much in the forefront that it nearly became a character of its own in the film. I really admired that aspect. Still, the overall movie doesn't leave too much for the audience to figure out, since the narration does lend a hand.
In the end, Motherless Brooklyn is a really, really solid crime mystery that has the perfect setting and feel for this sort of premise. I found myself completely engrossed in this world and was eager to see where the movie ended up. Edward Norton gives an award-worthy performance and his direction only adds to that, making for a great overall movie. Motherless Brooklyn may be meant for a more mature audience as it is quite niche in terms of the nature of the story, which may lend itself better to an older crowd. Even so, I quite enjoyed myself.