Motherless Brooklyn

Director: Edward Norton
Year Released: 2019
Rating: 2.0

War vet/orphan/detective Lionel (Edward Norton), who has Tourette syndrome (which makes him shout out odd phrases and twitch), sets out to avenge the death of his boss (Bruce Willis) by investigating the nefarious doings of a certain Moses Randolph (Alec Baldwin), a powerful figure - imagine Howard Roark-meets-Harvey Weinstein - who wants to purge the poor from parts of New York City for the sake of "urban renewal."  Norton purchased the rights to the Jonathan Lethem novel over twenty years ago, but then proceeded to make substantial alterations to it (like changing the era it's set in and adding new characters), and the result is a noble failure: there's a weak attempt to make it some neo-noir (although shot in digital, which defeats the purpose) but the script is achingly convoluted and unsatisfying - it's another White Savior story of a Caucasian male 'rescuing' people of color - and Lionel's "tics" (he says "If!" a lot), although not done with malice, having him apologizing non-stop, turning it into an actorly exercise.  The conclusion to Chinatown left one feeling dizzy and stunned, while this ends all tidy and cozy, thinking justice has been served.