DVD Review: Mr. Brooks
By Jeff Swindoll Oct 22, 2007, 13:35 GMT
Consider Mr. Brooks. A successful businessman, a generous philanthropist, a loving father and devoted husband. Seemingly, he’s perfect. But Mr. Brooks has a secret – he is an insatiable serial killer, so lethally clever that on one has ever suspected him – until now. ...more
Kevin Costner stars as a seemingly normal businessman who has a dark side represented by William Hurt and does some very bad things. He can’t help it that he’s an addict, but when you’re addicted to killing you need more than a twelve-step program.
Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner) has just won the man of the year award from the local chamber of commerce. He’s celebrating with his wife Emma (Marg Helgenberger), but Marshall (William Hurt) wants to celebrate in their traditional way. You see - Earl and Marshall are one in the same.
Marshall is Earl’s alter ego that encourages him in his hobby. Ceramics? No, Earl is a serial killer known as the Thumbprint Killer. He’s been controlling his desires by attending alcoholic anonymous, but Marshall goads Earl into resuming the mantle of the Thumbprint Killer after being dormant for two years.
Earl has other problems as his daughter Jane (Danielle Panabaker) has dropped out of college. He also had a witness to his return to his hobby, but “Mr. Smith” (Dane Cook) has other ideas instead of turning Brooks into the police. The detective that was on the Thumbprint’s trail, Detective Atwood (Demi Moore), is now back on it again and Mr. Brooks has to juggle all these items and control his urges as well.
Mr. Brooks uses Kevin Costner’s good guy persona to great effect in that he plays against type as the nasty serial killer. Both he and William Hurt get to have a good time playing the bad guys and you can see that coming through in their performances.
Costner is having a good time playing against type and Hurt just having a devilish good time being the villain of it all. Where the film seems to falter is that Brooks is such an intriguing character that when we step away from him and peek into the life of Detective Atwood that we can’t wait to get back to Brooks.
We always seem to be obsessed with the dark side of things and that Brooks is a seemingly normal man on the outside and a madman on the inside seems to be ripped from the headlines. In that this is a film we have an easier time accepting this admiration. Kevin Costner is a likable actor but when we transpose the same activities onto the BTK Killer, who was leading a similar normal existence, it gets a bit more disturbing.
I thought that both Costner and Hurt made the film, but when the movie put the emphasis on the Atwood storyline my interest would wonder what Mr. Brooks was up to.
Mr. Brooks is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Special features include a commentary by writer/director Bruce A. Evans and writer Raynold Gideon. Next are 6 minutes of deleted scenes. The only one that interested me was a little revelation from where Marshall sprang from but that was about it.
The 7 minute “Birth of the Serial Killer: The Writing of Mr. Brooks” interviews Gideon, Evans, producer Jim Wilson, and Kevin Costner about how the project came to be. The 9-minute “On the Set of Mr. Brooks” adds interviews with Dane Cook, Danielle Panabaker, Marg Helgenberger, and Demi Moore about working oh the film. The 9 minute “Murder on their Minds: Mr. Brooks, Marshall, and Mr. Smith” adds William Hurt to the mix and talks about those characters. The 2-minute theatrical trailer and trailers for other Fox titles round out the special features.
I liked the fictional Mr. Brooks, but would not want to meet him (or Marshall) in a dark alley. Costner and Hurt seem to be having a good time traipsing on the dark side. Personally, I wish that more time would have been spent on them and not on Moore’s detective character.