MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN
2019, Warner Bros., 144 min, USA, Dir: Edward Norton

Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton), a lonely private detective living with Tourette syndrome, ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Bruce Willis). Armed only with a few clues and the engine of his obsessive mind, Lionel unravels closely guarded secrets that hold the fate of New York in the balance. In a mystery that carries him from gin-soaked jazz clubs in Harlem to the hard-edged slums of Brooklyn and, finally, into the gilded halls of New York’s power brokers, Lionel contends with thugs, corruption and the most dangerous man in the city to honor his friend and save the woman who might be his own salvation.


BLAST OF SILENCE
1961, Universal, 77 min, USA, Dir: Allen Baron

This engrossing independent production from late in the classic noir era, shot entirely in New York, tracks a stoic hitman (played by director Allen Baron himself, who also wrote the script) returning to his home turf for what’s meant to be a quick, efficient assignment. Fate, guilt and double crosses intervene. Like Kubrick’s THE KILLING and Wendkos’ THE BURGLAR, this film represents the transition from studio noir to independently produced “neo-noir.”


BACKFIRE
1950, Warner Bros., 91 min, USA, Dir: Vincent Sherman

Virginia Mayo, Gordon Macrae, Edmond O'Brien and Viveca Lindfors star in this taut mystery about a war veteran whose attempt to investigate the disappearance of his army buddy follows a series of clues into a maze of murder and violence.


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