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Main Man

Motherless Brooklyn (2019) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Gumshoe Lionel “Motherless Brooklyn” Essrog (Edward Norton), afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome but blessed with a keen memory, relent­less­ly tracks the last case of his dead boss and mentor PI Frank Minna (Bruce Willis.) This leads him to The King's Rooster a Harlem jazz club and to a key colored girl, activist Laura Rose (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) whose family was involved in an étrange mélange (strange mixture) with upcoming 1950s Borough Authority (BA) czar Moses Randolph (Alec Baldwin), his civil engineer brother Paul (Willem Dafoe), and her stand-in father black Billy Rose (Robert Ray Wisdom.) Moses is razing the “slums” that are in actuality working class neighbor­hoods, in a renewal program to make way for modern high­ways, bridges, and parks. A few bodies get strewn along the way in the lead-up to the Hamilton Housing Hearing.


Because of his speech affliction, Lionel always played second fiddle to Frank who covered for him on inter­roga­tions. With Frank dead now, it's a real challenge for lionel to question leads and witnesses who are hostile to begin with. Surprisingly he's got the golden tongue and the PI's knack. Even his Tourette's out­bursts at the club don't earn him the usual musicians' censure of audience yak, because they were “in line” with the jazz—no mean feat. For all practical purposes, he had divine assistance. (Prov. 16:1) “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.”

music recital(Prov. 16:2) “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.” Moses completely justifies him­self in turning out established residents galore with­out a care for their accom­mo­dation, com­pen­sation or relo­cation. He's a man of action (“I'm a builder”) with an eye to the future and the greater good (“He hates Negroes.”) Lionel, on the other hand, is more like an inef­fable spirit with the gentle touch. Some trick photog­raphy shows him plop­ping back on his bed to float weight­less in a pool of water. In the Harlem jazz club, a polite White devotee is brushed off by the lead player (Michael Kenneth Williams) for asking him where he got his tremolo on the trumpet. Billy, how­ever, looks approvingly on Lionel dancing with his mulatto daughter Laura Rose of the calming touch. God weighs all these inef­fables while Moses blithely plows ahead with his heavy-handed projects.

woman teacher(Prov. 16:3) “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Lionel pain­staking­ly narrates his serpentine path to solving the enigma of Frank's demise on his last case. He's got the focus of a Jesuit, probably derived from his Catholic school upbringing where the sisters would rap him on the knuckles with a ruler when his mind strayed.

Production Values

” (2019) was written and directed by Edward Norton who also played lead. He based his screen­play on a reworked novel by Jonathan Lethem. It stars Edward Norton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Alec Baldwin. Baldwin does justice to the character modeled on the real life Robert Moses. The whole cast excelled though many of them had but limited exposure.

MPAA rated it R for language through­out including some sexual references, for brief drug use, and for violence. The film is period perfect in its settings, costumes, and autos. The talk is hard boiled and forget about political correct­ness. The stage jazz is lively. It's paced just right. The history was representative.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

I seriously enjoyed following the detecting, booing the villains, and escaping for a moment my all too hum­drum life. It might be a little too noir for some tastes, but it gives us a welcome change. The acting doesn't let us down, especially the lead role that came off without a hitch. It's gangsta enough for most tastes.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.