This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Stephyn BlizZzard’s review published on Letterboxd :
This review may contain spoilers.
This is another movie I was skeptical about, one due to me not being a big fan of Kevin Costner or his movies, although I have seen some his work (my mom loves him), secondly, I recently (when the movie came out) stopped liking Dane Cook, and lastly this was one of those movies, I choose to broaden my movie experience. I originally saw the trailer and said I’m game, but I don’t think this is going to be good, but just another generic, Hollywood, movie about a killer whose going to get caught or killed, you now the same old, same old, but I was completely wrong, this movie was damn near amazing and excellent. I never knew I would like a Kevin Costner movie so much, or that this was a diamond, in the rough, an exceptional movie, buy it on Blu-Ray, 5 out of 5, souls owed to Hades.
~Special Edition (Favorite Quote): “[sarcastically] And you were worried that this was going to be unpleasant? The answer is simple. Just tell Mr. Smith that you decided never to kill again, and he’ll go away.” -Marshall~
~Special Edition (Favorite Quote): “Jesse, you know what would make me feel really safe right now? If you got hit by a truck and died!” -Detective Tracy Atwood~
~Special Edition (Favorite Quote): “For all the taxes we pay, you’d think they’d make it more difficult to hack into the police personnel file.” -Marshall~
~Special Edition (Favorite Quote): “You always want to invent to invest in things people can’t do without. Water and cemeteries… pretty safe bets.” -Mr. Earl Brooks~
This story begins with a man, Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner) receiving the “Man of the Year” accommodations, for his valiant efforts, but oblivious to everyone who knows him, including his wife (Marg Helgenberger), his desire, addictions, and vice has returned, to his dismay, and what would be the thrill of murder. The main pushing force behind this addiction is Mr. Brooks’ own psyche, inner voice, or alter ego, the sadistic Marshall (William Hurt). Through Marshall’s persuasiveness, Mr. Brooks, has and needs to kill one last time, contrary to him wanted to be done with that dark side of him, to end his addiction, which has grown so much, over the years of being dormant. This growth has reached its highest and normal level that Mr. Brooks has his next victims already set in place. He jumps right back into his “killing mode”, with ease, new black boots, new black pants, new black shirt, new black jacket, glasses off, and his trademark of sorts, silenced silver small gun in zip lock bag, tied to his wrist. He’s thought of everything, from years of killing and begins his vice, once more, for the last time. Everything goes smoothly, until Marshall discovers, that this couple likes to have sex with curtains open, and thus enters Mr. Smith (Dane Cook), into the story, this was a big mistake that Mr. Brooks shouldn’t have missed, or did he. Through his form of a hobby, photography and voyeurism, Mr. Smith witnesses Mr. Brooks murdering the “dancing couple” (Mr. Brooks victims), through his camera lens, and the couples opened blinds, which Mr. Brooks peers out and closes shut. Unknowingly to Mr. Brooks, Mr. Smith has capture Mr. Brooks at the murder scene, and has maid copies, to blackmail, Mr. Brooks, but not for money, but to be apart of the his next kill. Whilst this is occurring, Jane Brooks (Danielle Panabaker), Mr. Brooks’ daughter, has returned home from college, but this is not just a visit, she has left college. She has a secret, of why she has returned, she pregnant by a married man with two kids, but that’s not her biggest secret nor the true reason why she has returned home, which Marshall knows and Earl feared. Sequentially, through Mr. Brooks’ error, we are introduced to Det. Tracy Atwood, who is on the trail of the once thought dead or prisoned “Thumbprint Killer”, Mr. Brooks previously, is trying to put the pieces together and retrace the killers steps, to solve this case. Det. Atwood just has some problems keeping her from focusing and solving this still opened case, one due to her going through a horrible divorce, with an egocentric, husband who’s slept around, with just about every women he’s come across, currently his lawyer, a serial killer she caught, who escaped, from prison, and sets out to kill her, and a captain who is being threatened by the FBI, to take over the “Thumbprint Killer” case, along with desking Atwood. She is also trying to find the connection with Mr. Bafford, a.k.a Mr. Smith, as to what he knows, what he doesn’t know, pertaining to the “Thumbprint Killings”. Which all spirals into a very exemplary story, about a killer trying to quit his vice, his dark lifestyle, being pushed by his inner voice, an off based, driven voyeuristic and mundane, wanna-be-killer/murder groupie, who is looking for a shock to his plain life, and a detective spreading herself very thin, to close multiple cases, while going through a dreadful divorce.
~Special Edition (Favorite Scene): One of my favorite scenes was the graveyard scene, where one of the big plot points are revealed, where we find that Mr. Brooks, knew he was going to kill Mr. Smith, which originally seeing the movie I wasn’t expecting, especially when he sliced Mr. Smith’s throat with a shovel, I never thought of someone, or maybe forgot, could get killed like that, it was so different and creatively.~
~Special Edition (Favorite Scene): My additional favorite scene, was the dream sequence, when Jane stabs her father, in the neck, it was another unexpected event in the plot, and made me mad, that after all the sh*t he did for his daughter, that she would just kill him, but surprise, surprise, it was dream, or may I should call it a nightmare, and didn’t really happen, so memorable, it made me appreciate the movie even more.~
A Crime Detective Drama, Mystery, Psychological Thriller.
~Special Edition (Dose it fit its Genre) Yes is dose, its Revisionist, meaning the genre is generally more symbolic, ambiguous, less certain, in its values. This phase tends to be stylistically complex, appealing more to the intellect than emotions. Often, the genre preestablished , conventions are exploited as ironic foils to question or undermine popular beliefs. (Giannetti, Louis, Understanding Movies)~
Kevin Costner as Mr. Earl Brooks, really did an excellent job of portraying a successful businessman, who’s got a great life, owns his own company, with his wife, great house, with everything going great in his life, while having a dark sinister side, the involves murder and an alter ego. He also conveys the serial psychotic killer who we, the audience, like, which is from a humanistic nature portrayal, with his lifestyle, charm, mannerism and the portraryal of a killer hating what he’s addicted to, and wanting to quit, as desirable and climatic killing is, to him. Whilst having an alter ego, pushing hi into his old ways, it was such an excellent performance.
Demi Moore as Detective Tracy Atwood, was another excellent performance, while I watched this movie I noticed Demi Moore was playing the police detective, that’s a one person army, going through a divorce, killers after them cases never closed and an unhelpful witness/suspect, but it cant be a stereotypical detective role, in the conventional aspect, because she a woman, and trying to prove her worth to a wealthy father who wanted a boy, so all the gender based rules and roles are reverse. I found this role quite ironic, because she is playing the usually role her ex-husband was made famous from (Die Hard).
William Hurt as Marshall, portrayed another one of those memorable parts, where an actor is the character, it was another excellent job, I can only see Marshall, not William Hurt, or the evil alter-ego of Mr. Brooks. You truly get a sense that Marshall was created by Earl to gain a sense of control and order, as to never be careless enough to be caught, and be efficient at what he dose, and generally to have a companion who knows him, the true him, won’ judge him, and who he can share his inner most emotions to.
Dane Cook as Mr. Smith/Mr. Bafford, if intended as comical relief, didn’t work, but the character he did portray did work, as an idiotic, or general minded person who gets kicks off of being a round and seeing people get killed or having sex. I guess you could called him a murder groupie, peeping tom, I didn’t really see him a wanna-be murder, the portrayal of the character didnt show a man with conviction and gull to perform a murder, a good performance though.
~Special Edition (Favorite Character): Marshall~
The visuals are quite stunning in this movie, you get the sense of terror, relief, etc., during certain scenes, and you are thrilled throughout the movie, seen with shadows, most notably the part where Mr. Brooks copies the key, to the safety deposit box, and wakes Mr. Smith, and shines the light at his face, then Mr. Smiths face. Even the most simple scenes are visual pleasing, it’s just an all out pleasing movie, with no CGI, especially with the kills, and crime scene shots, an excellent job on cinematography, by John Lindley.
~Special Edition (Favorite Visual): My favorite visual of this movie, was when Mr. Brooks and Marshall, turn around in the Volvo, at the same time, in sync, looking at Mr. Smith, shows that they are one in the same.~
~Special Edition (Favorite Visual): My second favorite visual was all the rearview mirror scenes, where Mr. brooks is talking to Marshall, showing him talking to his inner dark self.~
The Direction (Co-Writer) by Bruce A. Evans, was an excellent one, you get the sense that this has happened before in Mr. Brooks ’ life, and also the depiction that this is the end of Mr. Brooks killing career. If this was a book, which I don’t think it is, well then Evan dose a great job of portraying this story, you’re thrilled, you’re scared, you never know what’s going to happen next, its a got a great McGuffina and great Direction.
~Special Edition (Favorite Movie of the Director): Mr. Brooks~
I liked the fact that this movie was rated “R”, and the fact that they showed blood, and the killings, it makes the movie that much better. If Dane Cook was a better actor, and less of a douche at time, in the movie and in reality, I would have giving this movie a 10/10, but he did convey what he was suppose to convey, a joke, who wants to kill but couldn’t really ever do it, or get away with it, and it was so gratify to Mr. Smith get killed. This Movie is never predictable, even with two portions of Mr. Brooks on screen i.e. Marshall and Earl, you can never quite grasp what he is thinking at one point even Marshall doesn’t know what he is thinking, it really shows how the mind works (an example of this is when you surprise yourself, like in the movie) and how well the plot was thought out, for this movie. Two main themes, in the plot, that I want to touch on is, the ideal of blackmail, and the ideal of the killer type. The blackmail , seen in this movie, defined as usually to gain something, mainly money, which we see with Tracy and Jesse, her husband, in which him and his lawyer trying to drain as much money, and energy, as possible form Tracy. The second instance or aspect of blackmail, but not really blackmail, was extortion, defined as an act of boarder lining a criminal act, seen with Mr. Brooks and Mr. Smith, where Mr. Smith wants to kill someone or be with Mr. Brooks, when he kills his next victims. The first type of killer is the crazed psychotic, emotional driven, unrentless, unplanned, novice killer, who kills for a reason and fun, seen with Thornton Meeks. The second type of kill, present in the movie is the thought out, planned, unemotional driven, professional, addicted killer, seen with Mr. Brooks. I think the show Dexter is the reason or preempted, Mr. Brooks to be made, because both mirror each other, only main difference in Dexter is that, he’s a forensics analysis, and has no Marshall. I guess one could say and see, Dexter’s Marshall, as his father in the pre-professional killer Dexter days, giving him a code to stick to. There are some answered question, but not that big to defect from the story, and as they mention on the DVD, special features I can see this becoming a trilogy, with Mr. Brooks Killing again, his daughter killing, or his grandchild killing, with Mr. Brooks, showing them the ropes how to never get caught. Lastly some may have found Mr. Brooks and Marshall’s, conversations confusing , when they talked, and earl talks aloud, but no one else can see of hear him talking, and that because he’s not talking out loud, but in his head, it visual representation of the conversation, Marshall isn’t real, and they are not really talking.