*Saving the best for last, the masterful and captivating “Motherless Brooklyn” closed this year’s New York Film Festival (NYFF57) with thunderous applause.
The movie takes place in the 1950s, but the story could be ripped from today’s headlines. Racism, crime, corruption at the top, and gentrification is at the core of the film.
Alec Baldwin plays the incorrigible Moses Randolph, based on New York’s “master builder” Robert Moses. Moses’ public works caused the evictions of and uprooting of a half million lower-income citizens who stood in his way. Entire neighborhoods were bulldozed out of existence as Moses formed an elitist model of the city that helped entrench poverty.
Moses was even said to have ordered engineers to lower the bridges over the Southern State Parkway on Long Island to keep buses carrying minorities from traveling to the beaches. All of this is played out in “Motherless Brooklyn,” as well as the bound that develops between Harlem activist Laura Rose (Gugu Mbatha-Raw).
Prior to the screening of “Motherless Brooklyn” at Lincoln Center, cast members walked the red carpet. Following the Film at Lincoln Center (FLC) premier, lucky ticket holders of the Closing Night Party Pass headed to Jazz at Lincoln Center. There, director and star Edward Norton introduced friend and iconic trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis, to the stage. Marsalis’ performance was apropos to the evening’s celebration.
In “Motherless Brooklyn,” Edward Norton plays the lonely private detective Lionel Essrog, living with Tourette Syndrome. Jazz not only helps soothe Lionel’s rattled brain, but he connects with Trumpet Man (Michael Kenneth Williams), who helps him on his journey to solve his best friend’s murder. Watching Williams’ fine performance brought to mind Miles Davis. “Motherless Brooklyn” is in theaters Nov. 1.
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