×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mr. Brooks

In this ogre-ridden, ocean-going summer of sequels, "Mr. Brooks" reps a classic case of counter-programming. Original, adult and starring Kevin Costner as a serial killer, this suspense thriller with a smirk may not break any B.O. records, but it should provide discriminating audiences the antidote they seek to Clooneys-and-Caribbean fever, while giving Costner's career a considerable kick in the credibility department.

With:
Mr. Brooks - Kevin Costner Tracy Atwood - Demi Moore Mr. Smith - Dane Cook Marshall - William Hurt Emma Brooks - Marg Helgenberger Hawkins - Ruben Santiago-Hudson Jane Brooks - Danielle Panabaker

In this ogre-ridden, ocean-going summer of sequels, “Mr. Brooks” reps a classic case of counter-programming. Original, adult and starring Kevin Costner as a serial killer, this suspense thriller with a smirk may not break any B.O. records, but it should provide discriminating audiences the antidote they seek to Clooneys-and-Caribbean fever, while giving Costner’s career a considerable kick in the credibility department.

 

Costner’s mere presence in this noirish Bruce A. Evans-helmed psycho-drama — which Costner also produced, with longtime partner Jim Wilson and co-writer Raynold Gideon — is an attention grabber. Although one of the actor’s best performances was as murderer Butch Haynes in Clint Eastwood’s “A Perfect World,” “Mr. Brooks” takes a tongue-in-cheek attitude toward murder and portrays its serial killer as an addicted personality, who tries 12-stepping his way to a less-murderous lifestyle.

 

It would have been an entirely different movie with a more conventional star — Anthony Hopkins springs to mind (as does “Silence of the Lambs”). But Costner delivers a complex cocktail of aloofness, insecurity and reluctant threat, which makes a novel script into something even more unusual.

 

Add Demi Moore as the detective on the killer’s trail — another case of mid-career adjustment — and “Mr. Brooks” becomes as much about perception as it is a peculiar take on reality. By all appearances, Earl Brooks is a pillar of his community. He even receives Man of the Year honors from an unnamed group in his unnamed city, as his wife, Emma (Marg Helgenberger) looks on adoringly. What none of the town folk–including Emma–know is that Earl has been murdering people for years — expertly, strategically, cold-bloodedly.

 

Although he’s been keeping his homicidal demons at bay by attending AA meetings, his conscience — which has a name, Marshall, and is played by William Hurt — is prodding him to break his tenuous self-imposed sobriety and spill fresh blood.

 

Enter the subplots: Tracy Atwood (Moore) is a predictably hard-as-nails detective who lost the so-called “Thumbprint Killer’s” trail two years earlier and has other things on her mind — for one, a gold digging, soon-to-be-ex-husband (Jason Lewis).

 

Earl, too, has tangential concerns: A daughter (Danielle Panabaker), who may or may not have inherited his serial-killer gene (the science of “Mr. Brooks” may leave some viewers bewildered). And once he falls off the wagon, killing a pair of dancers in their uncurtained bedroom, Mr. Brooks acquires a kind of apprentice, Mr. Smith (Dane Cook), who saw what Earl did and wants to go along for the thrill ride.

 

There are also a pair of crystal-meth freaks out to avenge themselves on Tracy, which provides the film its few shoot-’em-up moments and a car crash or two.

 

But “Mr. Brooks” is most effective when it’s dealing with Earl and his conscience. Hurt and Costner are terrific together as two sides of the same personality and, again, the casting is what it’s all about. Marshall could have been portrayed as a grotesque monster, but instead, he’s a very close complement to Earl — similar in age, temperament and physique.

 

John Lindley’s subtle cinematography superbly delivers a morally dark film. Production values in general are topnotch.

Mr. Brooks

Production: An MGM release of an Element Films and Relativity Media presentation, in association with Eden Rock Media, of a TIG production. Produced by Jim Wilson, Kevin Costner, Raynold Gideon. Executive producers, Sam Nazarian, Adam Rosenfelt, Marc Shaberg, Thomas Augsberger. Co-executive producer, Malcolm Petal. Directed by Bruce A. Evans. Screenplay, Evans, Raynold Gideon.

Crew: Camera (color), John Lindley; editor, Miklos Wright; music, Ramin Djawadi; production designer, Jeffrey Beecroft; art director, William Ladd Skinner; set decorator, Ann Kuljian; costume designer, Judianna Makovsky; sound (Dolby Digital/SDDS/DTS), Steve C. Aaron; sound designer, Emile Razpopov; supervising sound editor, Dessie Markovsky; visual effects supervisor, Patrick McClung; visual effects, Sway Studios; stunt coordinator, Norman Howell; associate producer, Robin Jonas; assistant director, Eric Hays; second unit director, Howell; casting, Mindy Marin. Reviewed at WGA Theater, Beverly Hills, May 16, 2007. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 120 MIN.

Cast: Mr. Brooks - Kevin Costner Tracy Atwood - Demi Moore Mr. Smith - Dane Cook Marshall - William Hurt Emma Brooks - Marg Helgenberger Hawkins - Ruben Santiago-Hudson Jane Brooks - Danielle Panabaker

More Scene

  • Naomi Scott Talks Rebooting Princess Jasmine

    'Aladdin': Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad's New Character

    Call Naomi Scott the queen of the reboot – or at least, the princess. The 26-year-old actress is taking on the role of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s live-action remake of “Aladdin,” but it’s not her first time jumping into a role that’s already been well-established. Audiences may recognize Scott from 2017’s “Power Rangers” update, where [...]

  • Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala

    Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala: Mariah Carey, Kendall Jenner and Tiffany Trump

    Kendall Jenner caused a commotion when she arrived. Tiffany Trump went unrecognized until a member of the press pointed her out as she made her way down the carpet. And Mariah Carey flew in to perform a couple of songs. Welcome to this year’s AmfAR Gala Cannes, the AIDS organization’s annual — and largest — [...]

  • Lauren Ash44th Annual Gracie Awards, Show,

    Politics and New Abortion Ban Laws Dominate 2019 Gracie Awards

    Female empowerment was in the air Tuesday night as showrunners, writers and performers gathered at the 44th annual Gracie Awards to celebrate women breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings within the entertainment industry. Sandra Oh, Patricia Arquette, Rachel Maddow and Connie Britton were among the honorees at the ceremony, which took place at the Beverly [...]

  • Sacha Baron Cohen

    Why Sacha Baron Cohen Credits Donald Trump for ‘Who Is America?’

    Over the course of history, comedians have shared their take on current events with biting commentary on everything from class and gender to fashion and politics, and the current presidential administration is definitely no exception — with President Donald Trump regularly lampooned on shows like “Saturday Night Live” and by late-night TV hosts. But when [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content