Kevin Costner used to be one of my favorite actors and could do no wrong. But the last decade hasn’t been kind to him. He almost returns to form in the suspense film Mr. Brooks. Which sucks you in as it chugs along. Detective Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore) is a hardnosed detective who gets the job done. She’s solved numerous high profile serial murder investigations but the one that got away from her, The Thumbprint killer has resurfaced after two years of inactivity. It turns out that the Thumbprint killer is a schizophrenic high-profile business owner named Mr. Earl Brooks (Costner). It seems Earl has been getting helped for his "addiction" by going to a 12 step program.
For some reason, that’s not really explained in the film, he falls off the wagon and starts to listen to his alter ego, Marshall (William Hurt). He decides he wants to have one more kill. Unfortunately the kill is witnessed by Mr. Smith (Dane Cook) a sleazy amateur photographer who becomes obsessed with the idea of watching Brooks/Marshall in action and blackmails him to teach him the ropes. The film becomes a cat and mouse game between Brooks who wants to quit killing, his alter ego Marshall egging him on, and Mr. Smith attempts to force him to continue.
At first the scenes with Hurt and Costner seemed silly, but once you give yourself over to the idea of this is how the film’s going to portrayed the dual personalities it beings to work pretty well. Moore’s come back trek continues, here she does a decent job with the material she’s given, and her character is well rounded, we find out why she does what she does, even though she has millions in the bank and she’s in the middle of a nasty divorce – which makes her want to take out her frustrations on the job. The film never explicitly says this, but you can just tell she’s so wound up that she’s ready to snap.
There are other subplots in the film that don’t really amount to much other than filler material and detracts from the main story but they work. If I had one complaint it would be that the first ending is the one they should have gone with. It felt like they decided that they wanted to hedge their bets or that the first ending didn’t work in focus groups so they tacked on the second one.
Director/Writer Bruce A. Evans who is best known for producing the films Starman and Stand By Me has crafted a nice little thriller here that has some decent – but not surprising twists. This isn’t a film you run out and see, but it’s a good solid effort.
Final Grade B-
EM Review by
Originally Posted 6/01/07