Mr. Brooks

"OK"

Mr. Brooks Review


Don't feel bad if, during the opening salvos of Mr. Brooks, you question whether you've sat down at the midpoint of the film.

Director Bruce Evans structures his serial-killer thriller like a John Sandford or James Patterson page-turner, the kind that made household names of fictitious crime-solvers Alex Cross and Lucas Davenport. Evans intentionally paces his movie like the middle act of a longer story, which is a bold move until we realize Brooks raises more questions than the director and his co-writer, Raynold Gideon, can answer.

Title character Brooks, portrayed with icy detachment by Kevin Costner, is introduced as a veteran criminal coming out of a two-year period of inactivity. A mild schizophrenic, Brooks discusses his lethal decisions with alter-ego Marshall (William Hurt), an instigating personality who routinely encourages the conservative family man to act on his malicious impulses. Brooks even has an arch-enemy on the police force in Detective Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore), who also carries her own healthy backstory involving an ex-husband trying to siphon off a portion of the officer's financial inheritance.

And we've barely scratched the surface of the plot. Brooks -- and, by default, Marshall -- unwittingly picks up a protégé in Smith (Dane Cook), an amateur photographer who catches Brooks in the act of murder. Instead of going to the police, Smith uses his photographic evidence to blackmail Brooks into teaching him how to kill. At home, Brooks' daughter Jane (Danielle Panabaker) tells daddy she's dropping out of college. He correctly assumes she has bigger fish to fry, though I'll leave her issues for you to discover.

Brooks splits its narrative into thirds, then struggles to connect the plot pieces until a forced resolution that conveniently attaches Smith's unexplained desire to murder someone with Atwood's messy divorce. Evans wrings more suspense out of the contradicting relationship between Brooks and Marshall, leaving Costner and Hurt plenty of room to explore the milquetoast weapon and his flawed voice of reason. The director employs creative parlor tricks to show us the Marshall character. Hurt, having more fun than Costner in a supporting role, recites dialogue in rear-view mirrors and different reflections near Brooks. Costner also is able to converse freely with Hurt in their scenes without the other characters hearing their dialogue. This takes some getting used to, but it circumvents the movie's inherent communication problem of having a supposedly normal guy talking to an imaginary motivator who no one else can see.

Investigators searching for murder suspects frequently question motivation, though, and Brooks -- both the movie and the character -- has none. The thriller is a meticulous study on the "how" of serial killing. It just skims over the all-important "why."

Brooks does admit to an addiction, and Evans shows Costner attending help groups and whispering quick prayers in an effort to contain his lust for murder. But the movie can't muster adequate reasons why this white-collar family man began a killing spree, how he has been able to keep it hidden from his wife (Marg Helgenberger) and child, why he takes himself out of semi-retirement, or when he plans to strike again. Even more important, the film does not explain what prompted Brooks to create a parallel identity in Marshall. Costner admitted in recent interviews that Marshall's backstory is explained in a scene that Evans eventually cut. This fills us in if we're lucky enough to catch up on supplemental articles tied to Brooks, and I happily pass the information on to you now. It just doesn't help the finished film.

Talk about a backseat driver.



Mr. Brooks

Facts and Figures

Run time: 120 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st June 2007

Box Office USA: $28.4M

Box Office Worldwide: $41.6M

Budget: $20M

Distributed by: MGM

Production compaines: Tig Productions, Element Films, Relativity Media, Eden Rock Media

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 55%
Fresh: 84 Rotten: 69

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Bruve Evans

Producer: , Marc Schaberg,

Starring: as Earl Brooks, as Det. Tracy Atwood, as Mr. Smith, as Marshall, as Emma Brooks, as Jane Brooks, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Hawkins, Reiko Aylesworth as Sheila, as Meeks, Yasmine Delawari as Sunday, as Jesse Vialo, as Captain Lister

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.