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My thoughts on Motherless Brooklyn (2019) and Code 8 (2019)

genre: crime, drama, mystery

Edward Norton had built up a lot of hype concerning Motherless Brooklyn. He was pretty enthusiastic. Not that hard to imagine since this is the second time he directed a film but this time it's one with Oscar potential. Or at least that is what it seemed like when he gave a glimpse of the story he wanted to tell.

Who doesn't love a good mystery tale about power and corruption? Hinting at someone pulling all the strings from behind the scenes. They way Edward Norton described it made me think of The Usual Suspects. Or at least something with a similar vibe but then set in the Fifties. Unfortunately Motherless Brooklyn lacks tension, suspense, thrills and all those other elements that made that film compelling. I really don't know what Norton was going for. As a mystery film it's utterly predictable. As a drama it doesn't pack a punch enough. To top it of. Norton deemed it necessary to play a character with Tourette syndrome. Most of the time this is annoying and comical. But more annoying. I wished I could say that there are some redeeming factors. Apart from a scene or two the whole film is remarkably boring and average. 

Usually in productions like these good performances can make a story have more impact. In this I was just waiting for Alec Baldwin or Edward Norton to explode. Baldwin especially has a special quality to be able to play real villainous but charismatic characters. In this he is neither. In his defense though he has not been given that much to do. And Norton definitely has failed to make him more ominous and threatening than he should have been.

Again I really have no clue what Norton was going for. But whatever it is he failed big time. Don't waste your time with this one.

genre: action, science fiction, drama

Code 8 at least offered a better viewing experience. Although it's far from perfect. But contrary to Motherless Brooklyn isn't pretentious at all.

Code 8 depicts a world in which some humans have gained extraordinary powers very much in the same vein as the mutants in the X-Men universe. One could say that it's a more realistic approach in which humans are quite capable of containing extreme threaths. Or at least that is what the humans want you to believe. Like in any other film and comic book concerning super powered people humans are afraid of the mutants. Are they justified? Of course not. Unfortunately apart from exposing this fear Code 8 focuses on a pretty generic tale of crime and it's consequences. It's entertaining due to the decent special effects, choreography and a dramatic component. Only it never really wants to slap you with a message. 

I am a little disappointed that Code 8 didn't go deeper. It had all the potential to make a mark (even when rehashed). But overall it's a decent watch on rainy days.

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