Motherless Brooklyn

Norton noir

For his feature directorial debut (2000’s Keeping the Faith rom-com doesn’t count), Edward Norton casts himself as an oddball PI with Tourette Syndrome in 1950s New York City struggling to find the murderer of his friend and mentor (Bruce Willis in a cameo). His tic-heavy affliction masks a keenly analytical mind and photographic memory, and it’s not long before he has uncovered a plot that would affect the future of the entire city.

Though Norton (who also wrote and produced) makes a few too-clever mistakes and baffling creative choices as fledgling director, this is a noir-as-hell thrill ride through smoky jazz clubs, seedy backstreets and the gilded halls of power. The attention to period detail is spot-on, and while it sags in a few places, becomes unbearably dense in others, and is half an hour too long, it’s still well worth a look. Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Jonathan Lethem.

January 10 (144 min)