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‘Motherless Brooklyn’ Trailer: Edward Norton Battles Tourette’s and a Corrupt System (Video)

Crime drama based on Jonathan Lethem novel opens Nov. 1

Last Updated: August 22, 2019 @ 10:02 AM

In “Motherless Brooklyn,” Edward Norton plays a private detective in 1950s New York who struggles with not just a city-wide conspiracy of corruption and murder, but also his own battle with Tourette’s Syndrome.

It’s an ambitious performance and adaptation by Norton, as the Oscar nominee is directing and writing “Motherless Brooklyn” based on Jonathan Lethem’s acclaimed neo-noir novel from 1999. This is just Norton’s second film as a director and his first in 19 years.

Thankfully he’s assembled an impressive cast that includes Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Cherry Jones, Michael Kenneth Williams, Leslie Mann, Ethan Suplee, Dallas Roberts, Josh Pais, Robert Ray Wisdom, Fisher Stevens, Willem Dafoe and Alec Baldwin as the film’s kingpin.

“Do you have the first inkling of how power works? Power is knowing you can do whatever you want, and not one person can stop you,” Baldwin says. “Those people are invisible. They don’t exist.”

Lethem’s novel is a complex character study that gets inside the obsessive mind of its hero, Lionel Essrog, and the trailer for the film reveals both Norton’s narration and inner monologue, as well as his vocal bursts and tics that make him the subject of scorn in front of this harsh 1950s backdrop.

“Motherless Brooklyn” is making its world premiere as part of the Toronto International Film Festival next month, followed by the closing night stint at the New York Film Festival in October. Warner Bros. will then release the film in theaters on Nov. 1.

Check out the first trailer for “Motherless Brooklyn” above, and also pay close attention to the original song by Thom Yorke featured in the trailer, which also includes a collaboration between Yorke and Wynton Marsalis and Flea.