Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
After his boss is shot and left for dead, private detective Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton) sets-out to find out why. But along the way, he gets caught in the middle of 1950s political turmoil and a whole lot of people that want him to stop before he gets hurt.
Norton has been trying to get his adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s Book onto the big screen for at least a decade. His passion for the Project is effusive, and that may be why the Film feels like such a mess. It clocks in at 144-minutes, but easily feels double that. There are so many characters and subplots that it is easy to get lost in them all. The Film’s Cinematography is wonky, and the Set Design looks almost blatantly artificial. I cannot assume this was a deliberate choice, but it does feel disingenuous. The Cast is fairly good however, with Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Alec Baldwin standing-out among a sea of extras. And while his work behind the camera is not as good, Norton’s work on-screen surpasses even the best of expectations. The level of control and precision he demonstrates with Lionel’s Tourette Syndrome and OCD are outstanding, as are his more peculiar nuances.
MOTHERLESS BROOKYLN screens during TIFF at the following times:
Tuesday September 10, 9:15pm @ Princess of Wales
Wednesday September 11, 1:30pm @ Princess of Wales
Sunday September 15, 9:00am @ Scotiabank Theatre
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