In a summer filled with Sequels, Threequels, adaptations of comics, short stories, and novels there is nothing more thrilling than finding a movie that comes from an original idea, except when you find a movie that's based on an original idea and is a interesting, well made film.
Today in our continuing celebration of Halloween and Scary Movies we take a look back at a highly underrated Kevin Costner movie, Mr. Brooks. I had honestly forgotten about this movie, but rereading the review makes me want to go back and rewatch it.This review originally appeared on 6/29/07
Kevin Costner stars as the titular Mr. Brooks, on the outside he's a normal, successful family man, so successful he's recently been named Man of the Year by the Portland Chamber of Commerce. We meet Earl Brooks in a bathroom just before he's honored with the award as he recited the Serenity Prayer that many learn in AA. We soon learn that's it's not alcohol Brooks is addicted to but rather killing. Brooks has been "sober" for over 2 years but now Marshall (William Hurt) Brooks' inner self has broken him down and convinced him that it's time to kill again. Brooks is obviously a man struggling with his addiction and we see that it takes a toll on him when he gives in to the addiction.
When Brooks finally does give in to Marshall and kills again he quickly realizes he's made a mistake, one that will come back to haunt him. Soon "Mr. Smith" (Dane Cook proving that he's wasting his talent by starring in drudge like Employee of the Month) comes to Mr. Brooks with photos that show Brooks at the murder scene, but rather than blackmailing or threatening, he tells Brooks he wants to come with him the next time he kills. It seems Smith was exhilarated by watching the murder and wants to experience it himself.
The movie masterfully intertwines three different plots each of which are entertaining and makes you yearn for more. The second plot centers on Brooks home life and shows how much he loves his wife (Marge Helgenberger) who believes her husband spends most of his time in his studio with his kiln, and his daughter who has recently returned home from school after dropping out under mysterious circumstances.
The third plot follows Detective Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore) a police detective going through a rough divorce while trying to catch "The Finger Print Killer" (Brooks) who she had hoped was finished killing, and trying to catch/keep from getting killed by "The Hangman" a serial killer she helped put away who has recently escaped from prison.
To say anymore would be to ruin the movie.
The movie as a whole works, it keeps you enthralled, it's a thrilling guessing game, and you don't actually feel (too) bad rooting for the killer. All said and done, a well made, well thought out, wonderfully executed bit of cinema.