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4 reviews, 26 user ratings

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Mr. Brooks
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by EricDSnider

"Gleefully insane, and a little creepy, too."
4 stars

That Kevin Costner is a wily fellow. He'll star in a string of terrible movies (I'm sure you don't need a list), then surprise us with a good one ("Open Range"), then try a little comedy ("The Upside of Anger," "Rumor Has It"), then turn around and play a schizophrenic serial killer. Here's a man who's famous for being inexpressive and bland, yet who manages to keep surprising us nonetheless. A wily fellow indeed.

He plays the title character in "Mr. Brooks," a chewy morsel of psycho-killer intrigue that's as unpredictable as Costner's career choices. I've certainly seen smarter movies of this type, but one of the nice things about "Mr. Brooks" is that it doesn't claim to be particularly clever. It strives instead for chilling semi-cheesiness, and it pulls that off just fine.

Earl Brooks is a successful and beloved businessman in Portland, Ore. He is also a serial killer, egged on by his imaginary partner/alter ego/Mr. Hyde/unbridled id, a man named Marshall (William Hurt). Marshall is essentially a voice in Mr. Brooks' head, though the film takes it a step further by giving him a body and a face, too. It makes it that much more unsettling when Brooks has a conversation with him even while other people are in the room.

Brooks has a supportive wife, Emma (Marg Helgenberger), and a loving daughter, Jane (Danielle Panabaker), who has just dropped out of her first year of college and is at odds with her mother. They have no idea what Daddy does in his spare time, of course, and in fact the murders Brooks commits at the start of the film are his first in two years. He uses Alcoholics Anonymous principles to keep his addiction under control, and he loathes Marshall and his influence over him.

There was a witness to the latest killings, an unhinged loner who calls himself Mr. Smith (Dane Cook). He has pictures of Brooks at the crime scene, and he tracks him down and makes him a deal: Either Brooks takes Smith on a ride-along for his next murder to show him the ropes (Smith has aspirations of being a killer, too), or Smith takes the photos to the police. Marshall points out the obvious solution, which is to take Mr. Smith on his little outing and then kill him, too.

It's not as simple as that, though, and another dimension is added when Brooks discovers that a cop named Atwood (Demi Moore) is getting awfully close to catching him. Brooks and Marshall have to string Smith along, get Atwood out of the way, and keep Emma and Jane in the dark, all without breaking a sweat or losing control. Mr. Brooks makes being a cold, calculating killer seem easy.

The film's only significant flaw is a lack of focus. Director Bruce A. Evans, who wrote the script with Raynold Gideon (the two also penned "Jungle 2 Jungle," "Stand By Man," and "Starman"), has included a puzzlingly irrelevant subplot involving Det. Atwood's messy divorce and her search for another serial killer who has recently escaped from prison. "Mr. Brooks" is reportedly intended as the first film in a trilogy, so perhaps all the attention paid to Atwood's personal life is meant as set-up for later installments. Whatever the reason, it slows down what could have been a taut thriller.

Still, it's almost always fun to watch movies about crazy people. There are a few choice moments when Mr. Brooks and Marshall laugh together, sounding like a parody of maniacal killers and, at the same time, like a legitimately creepy pair of maniacal killers. Costner gives the tormented Mr. Brooks enough layers and levels to make him sympathetic as a conflicted soul who wants to stop the madness, while William Hurt gets to have fun as Marshall, the embodiment of Mr. Brooks' psychopathic tendencies.

Are some of the movie's scenarios a bit ludicrous? Heavens yes. But even its most absurd ideas are tantalizingly creative and sinister, enough to make you want to see them through rather than scoff and turn away.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15551&reviewer=247
originally posted: 06/04/07 14:53:13
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User Comments

11/14/18 Anne 1/2 way thru got so bored; preposterous and didn't finish 2 stars
4/15/17 morris campbell solid serial killer movie solid performances 4 stars
4/16/16 arnmmwerp USA 3 stars
7/19/09 Abhishek Chakraborty The pure definition of a good psychological thriller.Totally believable and original story. 5 stars
3/28/09 Monday Morning Screw you, Shortt. Good twisty film, but Kostner's keister isn't what it used to be. 4 stars
3/20/08 Stephanie This movie was absoluetly amazing. Watching a second time cleared up any questions. 5 stars
2/14/08 JAL William Hurt was delightfully wicked! 4 stars
1/23/08 George Chabot Solid psychological thriller 4 stars
1/03/08 Closet Cock Costner is solid in a merely okay killer flick 3 stars
11/17/07 GCC Worth a look just for Hurt's performance/Costner good too though 4 stars
11/13/07 mike unique movie that kept my interests throughout. very surprised and pleased with this rental 5 stars
10/29/07 action movie fan fairly interesting but needed more suspense and explanation for mr brooks murder spree 3 stars
10/23/07 William Goss Cluttered, clumsy, and damn near campy serial killer bonanza. 2 stars
9/24/07 Danny Boy Totally captivating dark and very disturbing movie! Simply the best film I've seen in years 5 stars
8/21/07 samuel kick back, no brainer, wonderful, delightful entertainment..i liked it more than 'Lambs' 5 stars
8/04/07 Kelly Whitekiller Costner was very, very good. 4 stars
7/31/07 Daphne Sterling DMoore has too much history to be credible or likeable in roll, spoiling promising thriller 2 stars
7/02/07 laura bennett okay....cant really make a good scary movie today...but okay 4 stars
6/20/07 Ole Man Bourbon Expected Costner to say something about "the sreaming of the lambs," but good 4 stars
6/16/07 jcjs fine, entertaining, right on, fun, great acting, clever, real, lovely piece, masterpiece 5 stars
6/16/07 fools♫gold Doesn't go for the obvious ending. 5 stars
6/15/07 D Surprisingly good 4 stars
6/09/07 Reginald Lawrence Started of excellent but the left alot of loose ends that didn'nt make sense. 3 stars
6/04/07 PJK Costner carries it. 4 stars
6/02/07 Koitus Outside of the "too convenient STUDIO" - yes, this was a good movie! Intricately-laid plot 4 stars
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  01-Jun-2007 (R)
  DVD: 23-Oct-2007



[trailer] Trailer

Directed by
  Bruce A. Evans

Written by
  Bruce A. Evans
  Raynold Gideon

  Kevin Costner
  William Hurt
  Demi Moore
  Dane Cook

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