The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Mr. Brooks

Submit to DeliciousSubmit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TechnoratiSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Judy Thorburn

Mr. Brooks

Las Vegas Tribune - http://www.lasvegastribune.com
Las Vegas Round The Clock
- http://www.lasvegasroundheclock.com

The Women Film Critics Circle - http://www.wfcc.wordpress.com
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
">
kreatia@
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"MR. BROOKS" - A SERIAL KILLER RULED BY 'HURT'

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

When Mr. Brooks was screened at ShoWest (the annual theatre owners convention) this past March, the press wasn’t allowed entrance into the theatre. I can only assume the studio didn’t want word to get out, about what they hope would be a shocking surprise for audiences - seeing Kevin Costner cast most definitely against type, as a schizophrenic serial killer.

It is a surprise, alright, kind of like when John Travolta also showed up as a slimy greasy haired killer in Pulp Fiction. It was the role of a lifetime that revived Travolta’s career which had been in a slump for years and ultimately got him back on track as a superstar. Not that I want to compare the two very different actors. It just proves one never knows what role may be just the one needed to give any actor’s career a shot in the arm.

I can tell you this. I was certainly surprised at seeing another, disturbing side to Kevin Costner, an actor known for his wholesome roles. Who knew he could be so scary in a quiet sort of way, the worst kind that is creepy and unnerving, if you know what I mean. Yet, if you think about it, most real life serial killers appear to be someone you never suspected, like the personable guy next door, or maybe even your best friend, or close relative. In essence casting Costner in this role was a brilliant idea. In turn, he delivers a sterling performance, his best ever that will get under your skin.

Kevin Costner is Mr. Brooks, Earl a successful and wealthy, well respected businessman, named Man of the Year by the Portland (Oregon) Chamber of Commerce. He appears to have it all, living in a fabulous house with his loving and beautiful wife, Emma (Marg Helgenberger) and daughter away at college. At least that is the way the outside world sees him. Yet, Earl has a deep and ugly secret he has been hiding for years, a dangerous alter ego named Marshall (William Hurt) that, in the past, had caused him to go out and commit heinous murders, always eluding the police and never getting caught.

Noone but Earl can see or hear Marshall because, although we watch the two sides of the coin engage in sly banter, the only place Marshall exists in is in Earl’s head. Earl has lived with the constant inner struggle to keep his demon at bay, and for two years, thanks to visits to AA meetings and prayers it has worked, helping him stay in control, until the night he was given the prestigious honor as a pillar of the community. On the way home from the event, Marshall suddenly appears in the back seat of his car and, with his wife unaware of what is going on, convinces Earl to give in to his forbidden passion and continue where they left off, on another hunt for a kill.

Only this time things don’t go as expected. Unbeknownst to Mr. Brooks there is a witness to this latest grisly murder. Before Brooks closed the bedroom curtains, Mr. Smith (Dane Cook) an amateur photographer who enjoyed watching the couple making love, had seen everything taking place from his window across the way. With incriminating photos in tow, Mr. Smith makes a visit to Mr. Brook’s office, but doesn’t ask for money. As the first twist, we find out Smith has a sicker agenda, demanding that he accompany Mr. Brooks on his next killing, in hopes of getting the ultimate thrill. How Mr. Brooks deals with this blackmailer makes for an interesting plot development. Casting comedy star Cook in this role also seemed an unlikely choice. Yet he is up to the task in his portrayal of a lowlife character in for more than he bargained for.

As far as the law, tough as nails Detective Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore, well suited and back in good form as the kick ass, don’t dare mess with me, kind of chick) who had been pursuing Brooks, known only to the police as the Thumbprint Killer, realizes that after two years, he has once again resurfaced. Although obsessed with catching him this time by following her instincts and searching for evidence, she has other problems to contend with. Tracy is in the middle of a divorce that has her husband suing her for millions. Also, the “Hangman Killer”, a criminal she helped put away has escaped from prison and is out to get her. This is an unnecessary sideline plot that could easily have been left out.

Meanwhile, back at the Brooks’ residence, daughter Jane (Danielle Panabaker) arrives back home after a murder had taken place at her school. She announces that she has dropped out of college and is pregnant. Daddy may be a ruthless killer, but when it comes to his family, the protective mode sets in at whatever the cost, even if information discovered points to, as they say, the apple may not have fallen far from the tree.

What I liked about this film is it doesn’t follow the usual formula and works as an original suspense thriller with unexpected twists and turns. Costner and his partner in crime, the equally brilliant Hurt (who haven’t worked together on screen since the Big Chill) are perfectly matched as a team, bouncing off one another with superb interaction. Hurt acts as the devious and clever aspect of Brook’s personality, always sizing up the situation and then telling the more passive Earl what to do with a sinister shove in a deadly direction. After each murder committed, the result is a guilt stricken, troubled man that could draw some sympathy, since we see Mr. Brooks as yet another victim of the addiction he is unable to control.

While there are plot flaws, mostly revolving around Demi’s role, the story as a whole unfolds as a compelling exploration into the mind of a serial killer. It works as an entertaining psychological thriller that keeps you on your feet (or in this case, in your seat), but is always one step ahead. In a summer filled with movie sequels, Mr. Brooks is a welcome change of pace. With the possibility of a sequel of its own, it doesn’t take a sixth sense to see more dead people in Mr. Brook’s future.