Lionel Essrog’s tangled mind holds the key to uncovering the seedy underbelly of New York
“I got threads in my heads, I got threads in my heads,” barks Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton), a private eye with Tourette Syndrome living in 1950s New York who is plunged into a complex case riddled with conspiracies. The whole thing kicks off when Essrog’s beloved boss and long-time mentor, Frank Minna (Bruce Willis), is murdered by mobsters while working on a case.
While Essrog’s condition causes him to twitch, tic and jerk uncontrollably, his mind is also a steel trap with a photographic memory, making him a brilliant gumshoe. Minna’s death sends Essrog on spiral into depression, while at the same time lighting a fire that sets him off on a mission to track down the culprits.
With little-to-no clues, Essrog follows a broken trail through Harlem’s jazz clubs and Brooklyn’s slums, all the way up the power ladder where megalomaniac Moses Randolph (Alec Baldwin) runs the city with a ruthless hand. As the web of double-dealing and political back-stabbing slowly unravels, Essrog finds allies in a few characters including a jazz trumpeter, a Harlem nightclub owner and an equal-housing activist.
Based on the best-selling novel by Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn is a densely-plotted detective saga, dialogue-driven with an all-star cast, some of whom deliver their most engaging performances in years. Edward Norton’s talent is on full display here, having also written and directed the movie – a project that he’s been trying to bring to the screen for the past two decades.
Blending New York’s real history with fiction, together with an entrancing jazz score composed by Daniel Pemberton and gritty-noir visuals by cinematographer Dick Pope, Norton’s film reels you in and keeps you hooked until the credits roll.
If you’re staying at a Vision Four partner hotel, make sure to tune into the Vision Four TV network where this movie is playing from this month on!
Check out another movie which also on the network, The Goldfinch.