Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton), a lonely private detective living with Tourette Syndrome, ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Bruce Willis). Armed only with a few clues and the engine of his obsessive mind, Lionel unravels closely guarded secrets that hold the fate of New York in the balance. In a mystery that carries him from gin-soaked jazz clubs in Harlem to the hard-edged slums of Brooklyn and, finally, into the gilded halls of New York's power brokers, Lionel contends with thugs, corruption and the most dangerous man in the city to honor his friend and save the woman who might be his own salvation.


Set in New York City in 1957 the settings and the cinematography are exquisite, the attention to details that Norton gives to the New York City streetscape is impressive, every shot looks as if it comes from a page of a 50’s magazine.

Sadly “Motherless Brooklyn” ends up being mostly style over substance as the story, it’s based on a novel by Jonathan Lethem, that promises so much with its many twists and turns eventually comes to very little.

Norton, nervous ticks and all, is terrific in the lead role, it’s just a shame that the story doesn’t have more to offer during a running time that could easily have been trimmed by a few good minutes.


Motherless Brooklyn (15)

2h 24m

Director: Edward Norton

UK Release: Friday 6th December 2019
US Release: 1st November 2019

Motherless Brooklyn - "Timely" Featurette

Motherless Brooklyn - "Above The Law" TV Spot