Coming Attractions,  entertainment,  Film Festivals,  Film Reviews,  TIFF 2019,  Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)

Film Noir Tourette’s Gumshoe Mystery Makes Motherless Brooklyn Priceless

Widely acclaimed as one of his generation’s finest actors, Edward Norton proves his skill behind the camera in this inventive crime saga. Marked by a deep sense of place and compelling performances from a cast that includes Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Willem Dafoe , Motherless Brooklyn is an offbeat detective story in which the hero seeks both to solve a murder and illuminate his own origins.

As young orphans, Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton) and his three closest friends were taken under the wing of Frank Minna (Bruce Willis). Minna would send the boys on errands, arming them with street smarts, attitude, and a sense of purpose. When Minna is shot and left for dead, Lionel is determined to solve this crime, plunging him into a Brooklyn underworld riddled with colorful characters and enemies passing as old friends.

Although there have been a few films here and there with characters who have Tourette’s syndrome (Front of the Class, The Tic Code, The Road Within, Hello, My Name is Frank), Norton brings compassion and humor to Lionel, whose Tourette’s inevitably leads to some interesting situations.   What’s compelling about Norton’s work is that he frequently takes on characters which appear broken in some way (Primal Feat, American History X), all while not making them victims.  I was smitten with how compassionate the characters inhabiting Lionel’s world were to his condition. It was considerate and sweet, yet not condescending.

Alec Baldwin is deliciously menacing as the Mob Boss Moses Randolph and Gugu Mbatha-Raw portrays Laura Rose with such simple, complex, mysterious compassion that she captures your attention and keeps it.  Acclaimed cinematographer Dick Pope gorgeously recreates a 1950s Brooklyn with an alluring specificity and costume designer Amy Roth brings the elegance, style and  glamour to the decade with grace and class. Jazz music plays a large part is practically treated as if it were an additional scripted character, weaving musically between dialogue thanks to genius compositions of Daniel Pemberton.

As Director, Producer and lead actor, Norton brings a film noir vibe to Motherless Brooklyn that is most refreshing.  However, the film does run a tad long getting a little off track for a minute.  But, when it does regain focus in the third act of the film it is simply stellar.

I love, love love movies, watching them and discussing them...thus the birth of The Curvy Film Critic!!! Host/Producer/FilmCritic,Carla Renata is a member of such esteemed organizations as Critics Choice Association (Co-President Documentary Branch), African American Film Critics Association, Online Association of Female Film Critics and Alliance of Women Film Journalists. My op-eds or features have been seen in VARIETY,, Maltin on Movies, The Cherry Picks, IGN Movies, as well as being a frequent Guest Contributor to Fox 11-LA, Good Day LA, ET Live!, Turner Classic Movies, KCRW Press Play with Madeline Brand, The Cherry Picks, The Stream Team (Beond TV) ITV, Fox Soul's The Black Report, The ListTV and more. Catch my reviews on The Curvy Critic with Carla Renata - LIVE!!! Sundays 5pm PST via You Tube or Facebook Live. If you like what you read please shout me out and subscribe to The Curvy Critic on YouTube. You can chat with me across all social media platforms @TheCurvyCritic and as always, thanks for supporting a sista'

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