For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
The man who has everything has everything to hide.
A psychological thriller about a man who is sometimes controlled by his murder-and-mayhem-loving alter ego.
Serial killer movies have been done to death in the last ten years. How many different variations of the genre can you do? Bruce A. Evans however had something new to offer and with not one but two Oscar winners on surprisingly good form, this was a little gem from 2007.
Set in Portland, "Mr. Brooks" is a wealthy businessman, husband and father to a teenage daughter. Behind the scenes however he is the "Thumbprint killer", a serial killer who has abstained from murder for the past two years with help from an addiction group. Earl Brooks however is going to return to his killing ways as his alter-ego inside his head played brilliantly by William Hurt urges him to…
Whether or not you buy into Mr Brooks all very much depends on if you can believe Kevin Costner as a conflicted serial killer, something of a stretch asked by director Bruce A. Evans in what turns out to be less a psycho drama, more a slightly odd potboiler. It might bill itself as a thriller but there isn't much in the way of tension or indeed excitement across Evans' film, which more than takes its time exploring the titular Earl Brooks and his murderous psychological demons. It's a darker turn for Costner, eschewing the safer or more escapist fayre he's often known for to swim in more sinister waters, but frankly he lacks the thespian nouse to look much…
If you want an idea of the feeling of this film, think American Psycho mixed with the show Dexter.
Great and underrated film. Would have been a lot better without that unnecessary subplot with Demi Moore, but the central story is what it's all about. The story of a man in a war with himself and his inner demons, or demon (William Hurt). Kevin Costner is fantastic and has terrific chemistry with William Hurt, who is just as great. Dane Cook is surprisingly really great and does a nice job balancing his comedic persona with a much darker turn. While her story was pointless and may have made more sense in a separate film, Demi Moore is decent. I mean, she's been a lot worse in past films. A clever script turns out twists you don't expect and web you're waiting on the edge of your seat to see unravel. Pulse punding, gripping, and criminally underseen.
I've always had a fascination with serial killers, whether it's Dexter Morgan or Hannibal Lecter or any of the other brilliant depictions seen in film and television.
This is not a perfect film, but it is compelling and quite thought-provoking.
Kevin Costner delivers one of his finest performances as Mr. Earl Brooks, a successful businessman with murderous desires. Costner balances the two sides of Mr. Brooks with subtle precision.
All of the performances are strong, including that of "comedian" Dane Cook.
Demi Moore is terrific as Tracy Atwood, the detective investigating the case of the Thumbprint Killer.
One of the most interesting aspects of the film is William Hurt's character, who is named Marshall and is the personification of Mr. Brooks' conscience.
It may be flawed, but it's also a particularly dark and stylish psychological thriller.
I really don’t understand why the critics and audiences enjoy knocking Kevin Costner. He is an actor I never tire of seeing; he’s great-looking, effortlessly charming and is considerably talented as an actor and filmmaker. I embraced his latest film venture -- “Mr. Brooks,” a slow-building drama about a well-respected man who just so happens to double as a serial killer in his spare time. Costner is really delightful in this sinister role and I loved watching the camaraderie between him and his alter ego, played William Hurt. It’s offbeat, for sure, but it’s also refreshing, original, even a bit daring. Highly recommended.
This is one of those gems that didn't really perform at the box office and not many people have heard of. It seemed to fly under the radar at the time and I really have no idea why because this was a great film. Directed by Bruce Evans who doesn't really have an awful lot to his name in terms of directing (just 1 other film) despite having been around for many years. He also wrote this and was also responsible for writing a coupel of other past gems Stand by Me and Starman.
The film centres around Kevin Costners character, Earl Brooks, who is a successful and respected businessman with a family he loves, but is also a serial…
Bruce A. Evans has only directed 2 films to date but he has contributed to the writing of a few more than that - 'Starman' (1984) & 'Stand By Me' (1986) being the most notable.
Mr. Brooks which he wrote & directed stars Kevin Costner back to his best (mercifully) as Earl Brooks, an entrepreneur, man of the year, business owner, family man...serial killer! He is a normal guy on the outside but deep down is flawed with a sickening addiction...the thrill of the kill. He is no psychopath for he knows what he does is wrong, but he can't stop. It's like a drug. He must satisfy the insatiable needs of the killer on the inside - this alter-ego is personified brilliantly by William Hurt who seems to be goader, urging Earl to continue the thrill ride that keeps them both alive.
A great thriller, which was tarnished a bit for me, when halfway through, I realised that I'd seen the fucker before. I then remembered how it ended and some of the tension faded away.
Nice to see Costner play against type.
Killing as a Disease
Mr. Brooks has that special spark, that spark that makes you root for and sympathize with the bad guy knowing full well that he is evil and that he will never stop being evil. That spark comes from the great performances that make up our serial killer, Kevin Costner and William Hurt. That clash between two personalities that form one man. Its really fun to see on screen, that dynamic of both actors playing off of each other.
The film has an interesting perspective, placing the spotlight on killing as a mental disoder that could be passed down genetically. That disorder manifesting itself physically on screen.
Every other part of this film is good to above average. Its a little bit smarter and a little more sylish than average. But its our main character, the portrayal of Mr. Brooks, that helps it stand out from the rest.
Costner really pulls off playing the protagonist serial killer!
The guiltiest of guilty pleasures. There's so much that's wrong with this movie (not one, not two, but three completely useless subplots; Dane Cook gives a poor performance; Demi Moore shouldn't have really been in the movie at all), but then again, there's so much more that goes so right: Costner and Hurt's badinage, which really makes it feel as though they've been doing this for years, Hurt's performance, which is so cacklingly witty and evil you wish he'd play more roles like this ("Even if that man were witty and charming, I still wouldn't like him") and Costner, who really makes you wonder about the connections between Ted Bundy and the Chamber of Commerce. When Costner replaces his aged-hippie costume for an old-man costume and nearly runs over his evil double-personality out of frustration, you know you've reached a level of glorious insanity that few films can hope to match. Movies like this should be cherished.
Silly premise, silly plot... I am giving it a passing grade just on the merits of showing us Costner & Hurt egging each other into serious mischief
Memorable story and creative direction.
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