MovieChat Forums > Motherless Brooklyn (2019) Discussion > Forget It, Jake. It's No Chinatown.

Forget It, Jake. It's No Chinatown.


Beautifully photographed, but with none of the urgency, danger or menace of its most obvious influence. The time period details were excellent but the story was inert. Most interesting scenes were between Norton and Baldwin, but they couldn't save the movie. Really wanted to like it more.

Food in Films: "Moses Randolph would be satisfied with a pastrami sandwich and power." Feels like there should've been a lot more pie and coffee in this one. Probably would've made it a better movie.

reply

It can be no Chinatown and yet also be good. Not really fair to compare any movie to another. Each one should stand on its own merits. There was nothing wrong with the story here.

reply

You make a good point about comparing movies. In this case, the similarities were so great that I naturally started drawing comparisons. I've always enjoyed Norton's work, so I was looking forward to this one. From the outside, it had everything going for it--strong casting, beautiful sets and costuming, and a talented actor-director, but those parts didn't quite make a whole. The only times I felt invested in the story were the scenes with Lionel and Moses and the hallway-fire escape sequence. For me, it was like a technically perfect painting that fails to elicit much feeling.

Norton is still one of the best actors around and I'll always look forward to watching anything he's in.

reply

It sounds like the Alec Baldwin character borrows elements from Robert Moses. I kind of wish we got a biographical movie about him now. Like a 'warts and all' story in the same style as that movie about Ray Kroc.

reply

You hit the nail on the head. He's Robert Moses all the way with the exception of the secret daughter. A Moses biopic would make a fascinating film it if was the done the right way like "The Founder" which I loved because it was like "The Social Network" for fast food.

Moses wielded so much power for so many years (1920s-1970s), but he was never elected to public office. Crazy to think that some bureaucrats can have so much entrenched power without ever having to run for office, but I think it happens more often than we assume.

reply