You will be rewarded. But that reward is piled under white lies that are obviously not convincing.
Edward Norton, the second time director’s definitely-a-first official writing credit, is everything. Has everything. From a commercial look in its bigger picture to an art-sy rhythm in details. You’d think that a script with these qualities will be balanced. And instead if anything it is immensely unsettling. The film tries to be everything and gets only few handful of things right and it had small hands and loose grip. This was the actual “big reveal” it was going for. And when it finally discloses the curtains, you are disappointed. I mean they did work hard and had an incredible cast to put up a dazzling show.
The film also gives room for the performers and the audience to chew in the material properly. In order to do so the film celebrates, flaunts, milks on probably wrong moments that might be correctly motivated but is amateurishly staged to ever connect with the audience. It explains things more than it should. So it could be smart but it also often suggests that we, the audience are slow along with the characters floating around, swinging a bat that is nowhere near in contact with the ball.
It has a background score that doesn’t ring a bell and editing that misleads its audience. I can point out ten moments easily where they should have placed and moved the camera differently or would have chosen the other angle shot in post production. The actor-turned-filmmaker has got the former job to the point. We are following him in every frame and never, not even for a second, he, Norton, manipulates us into empathy, with his complex situation in this hefty case. Motherless Brooklyn’s cast is cradled carefully, Norton cares the most in the film, it’s just that no one looks out for him as he looks out for everyone else.