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Edward Norton
Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin
Writing Credits:
Edward Norton

In 1950s New York, a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette Syndrome ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend.

Box Office:
$26 million.
Opening Weekend
$3,500,454 on 1342 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 144 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 1/28/2020

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Actor/Director Edward Norton
• ďEdward Nortonís Methodical ProcessĒ Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Previews


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-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Motherless Brooklyn [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 26, 2020)

Edward Norton goes triple threat with 2019ís Motherless Brooklyn. Adapted from Jonathan Lessemís 1999 novel, Norton wrote, directed and starred in the film.

Set in New York circa the 1950s, Lionel Essrog (Norton) works as a private detective. Lionel suffers from both Tourette Syndrome and OCD, and the quirks that come with these disorders complicate both his personal and professional lives. He also boasts an excellent, near-photographic memory, a bonus for his line of work.

Frank Minna (Bruce Willis) rescued Lionel and his colleagues Gilbert Coney (Ethan Suplee), Danny Fantl (Dallas Roberts), and Tony Vermonte (Bobby Cannavale) from an orphanage when they were kids. When someone murders Frank, Lionel struggles to find the culprit.

Norton made his big-screen debut with 1996ís Primal Fear and enjoyed major praise right out of the gate. Norton got an Academy Award nomination for his work, the first of three to date.

Would it be unfair to state that Brooklyn gives off the scent of Eau de Oscar Bait? Maybe, but Nortonís decision to play auteur here makes me view it as his play for the love the Academy first denied him more than two decades ago.

Norton certainly unloaded his Rolodex and called in a lot of favors for this project, as it comes with a star-packed cast. In addition to the actors already named, we find Alec Baldwin, Leslie Mann, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Willem Dafoe, Michael Kenneth Williams and Cherry Jones.

All that talent adds depth, but make no mistake: Norton dominates this project, as Lionel becomes the focal point. Any other characters exist as connections to him, so expect Norton to stay onscreen the vast majority of the filmís running time.

Iíve liked Norton ever since he made such a big impression with Fear, and Iíd like to see him win an Oscar someday. He didnít get a nomination for Brooklyn, and that doesnít bother me, as Norton gives us a collection of tics in search of a character.

Not that Nortonís Lionel lacks any depth, and he doesnít ladle out the mannerisms and odd speech patterns at all times. Occasionally we see Lionelís ability to control his behavior.

Still, I canít help but feel like Norton viewed Lionel as a chance to Act! Lionelís Tourette rarely feels like anything other than a gimmick, and Norton canít change that.

Of course, the root of this comes from Lessemís novel, so I canít lay the blame wholly on Norton. However, I think a conceit like this works better on the printed page, as the showy nature of the Tourette tics becomes less intrusive in that setting.

Those who have Tourette shows varying degrees of severity, and Brooklyn makes Lionel on a fairly extreme end. As mentioned, he can hold back at times, but much of the time, Lionelís tics dominate.

Indeed, Norton seems bound and determined to concentrate on the Tourette, even when it doesnít really matter in terms of storytelling. Despite a pretty focused plot at its core, Brooklyn tends to meander a lot, and these detours donít add much.

Even when Brooklyn concentrates on its main plot, it doesnít seem especially compelling. It follows paths similar to those of noir classics like Chinatown but not in a manner that makes the narrative engrossing or strong.

Mainly, Brooklyn simply never finds it groove. A strong cast canít turn this into anything more than a mediocre detective throwback.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Motherless Brooklyn appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, the transfer looked good.

Sharpness was fine. A little softness occurred in some interior shots, but those didnít become a concern. Overall definition seemed solid.

I noticed no jagged edges or moirť effects, and the presentation lacked apparent edge haloes or other artifacts. I also saw no print flaws, as the movie always seemed clean.

In terms of palette, Brooklyn heavily emphasized teal, with some amber tossed in as well. The colors didnít dazzle but they worked fine given stylistic parameters.

In addition, blacks were dark and tight, while low-light shots were good. Some could be a bit dense, but they were usually appealing. This was a positive presentation.

As for the filmís DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it added breadth to the experience. The movie didnít deliver a consistently rock-em-sock-em soundscape, but it managed to open up well.

A few louder sequences Ė usually connected to gun or car-related action beats Ė made more dynamic use of the spectrum, but those didnít pop up with great frequency. Instead, the emphasis on general environment remained, and that was fine, as I felt the soundfield fit the material.

Audio quality always pleased. Speech remained natural and concise, with no edginess or other flaws.

Music sounded full and dynamic, while effects came across as accurate and clear. All of this suited the film and earned a solid ďBĒ.

As we shift to extras, we find an audio commentary from writer/actor/director Ed Norton. He provides a running, screen-specific discussion of the source and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, period details, music, editing, photography, influences and connected domains.

Norton brings us a thoughtful, informative commentary. He touches on an appropriate array of topics and does so with insight through this solid chat.

By the way, Norton alludes to Star Wars way more than youíd expect given his own filmís orientation. I love the realization that Nortonís a nerd like the rest of us.

With Edward Nortonís Methodical Process, we get a nine-minute, 38-second featurette that offers notes from Norton, producers Gigi Pritzker, Rachel Shane, Michael Bederman and Bill Migliore, director of photography Dick Pope, composer Daniel Pemberton and actors Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe, Bobby Cannavale, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Cherry Jones.

ďProcessĒ examines the novel and its path to the screen, story and characters, cast and performances, the movieís style, music, sets/locations and Nortonís multiple roles. We get a decent array of insights, but expect a lot of praise for Norton along the way.

Five Deleted Scenes fill a total of five minutes, 19 seconds. Only the fourth of these offers anything substantial, as it gives us exposition from Gabby to Lionel.

This scene seems too much like Morris the Explainer and falls flat. The others bring brief snippets that add small narrative moments but nothing especially useful.

The disc opens with ads for The Way Back, The Good Liar and The Goldfinch. No trailer for Brooklyn appears here.

Despite a strong cast, Motherless Brooklyn doesnít really connect. The story fails to catch fire, and the characters donít become complex enough to compensate. The Blu-ray brings strong picture and audio as well as supplements highlighted by a good commentary. Given the talent behind it, Brooklyn disappoints.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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