Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mr. Brooks

Directed by Bruce A. Evans.

2007. Rated R, 120 minutes.
Danielle Panabaker
Dane Cook
Marg Helgenberger
Ruben Santiago-Hudson
Aisha Hinds

Serial killer Earl Brooks (Costner) gets the urge to kill again after two years of inactivity. He follows the urge, tries to maintain his successful business and his family but things aren't quite working the way he wants.

In a welcome change, this movie foregoes any notion of it being a 'whodunit' right away. Its not interested in discovering who the killer is, that's established fairly early. It's more interested in how Mr. Brooks copes with all that's going on in his life. Often, it involves talking things over with Marshall, the walking talking persona of his conscioence played by William Hurt. Admittedly, its a gimmick but these two actors make it work extremely well showing off a mutual morbid sense of humor. As the police officer trying to capture "The Thumbprint Killer," Demi Moore goes into tough-chick mode and delivers as well. The writers did well to give her three story-lines of her own that all work even if they're a bit over the top. Even Dane Cook is adequate in his role.

Story-wise, twists in the plot are presented more as complications Brooks has to deal with and you become interested in how he's going to take care of the various problems that arise. Between he and Marshall they come up with some pretty good stuff. Though there are a good number of tense and even a few gory moments, this is more of a psychological thriller than a true horror film, but one that takes the odd approach of presenting the killer not as a raving lunatic but as a normal guy with an unusual addiction.

With the number of story-lines going on, at least six off the top of my head, some things just fall by the wayside. Namely, how Mr. Brooks came to be a serial killer is ignored. Though, the suggestion is there that homicidal urges are hereditary. Also Brooks' wife (Russo) is also ignored. She's pretty much there just for reaction shots. She could've been developed a lot more. Through her action scenes we discover that Demi Moore's character is a superhero or at least related to John McLane from the Die Hard series. This character made her G.I. Jane look like her character from Ghost.

Mr. Brooks is for fans of movies like Silence of the Lambs and Seven. It's not quite in their league but I think it is terribly underrated. Far better with far less hype than 2007's other big thriller, Perfect Stranger. It was fun to see Costner playing way against type and like I said earlier it was fun watching the back and forth between he and William Hurt. Stay away if you think there have to be likeable characters in a movie. I honestly don't think there are any.

MY SCORE: 8/10

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