Movie Name: Mr. Brooks
Studio: Element Films
Release Date(s): June 1, 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner) is a father, a husband, a business owner, and a pillar of the community…he’s also a serial killer. When haunted by his alter ego Marshall (William Hurt), Brooks gives in to his addiction, but Brooks’ planning gets sloppy. Brooks is spotted by a man calling himself Mr. Smith (Dane Cook) who wants to experience what Brooks has experienced…and wants Brooks to help him. Now, Brooks and Smith are hunting their next pray while a detective named Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore) is hunting Brooks. Meanwhile, Brooks’ daughter Jane (Danielle Panabaker) could have a bigger surprise for her father.
Written and directed by Bruce A. Evans, Mr. Brooks is a psychological thriller. The movie was poorly received by critics but a relatively strong box office response.
Mr. Brooks looked like a generic film starring Costner who has always been a rather generic actor. Though I’m sure it was in production before Dexter premiered, Mr. Brooks looked like a Dexter rip-off and felt like it.
The movie’s biggest problem is that it takes the form of Dexter. The writer claimed he hoped the film would be a trilogy (which as of now hasn’t happened), but he wrote it like a trilogy instead of a stand-alone film. The movie has tons of overlapping plots, open threads, and is far too garbled. You don’t care about Demi Moore’s divorce, the hangman killer, or Brooks’ daughter…it distracts too much from the main plotline involving Smith and Brooks.
Kevin Costner is Kevin Costner. He never has had much range for me and fortunately for this movie he is meant to have control (aka emotionless). He seems to just sleepwalk through the movie. William Hurt is fun as his “dark traveler” (like Dexter), but he isn’t allowed to have much fun…it might have worked better if Hurt actually took Costner’s place in murder scenes. Demi Moore is trapped in a story that isn’t compelling and both Marg Helgenberger and Danielle Panabaker as Brooks’ family also just feel like they are “just there”.
Visually, this movie needed to be more stylized to work. Dexter and other split personality movies and shows often really stylize the idea and in turn make it interesting. Simply having a second person egging the character on doesn’t work anymore. The movie needed to push it farther.
Mr. Brooks is a rather dull film. It is long and needed a good editor that took out a lot of the stuff that garbled the plot. If it had been cut down to an hour thirty, it might have worked better. Mr. Brooks was relatively successful and a sequel could pick up five, ten, or fifteen years after the original so I can’t rule out that Mr. Brooks won’t return sometime, but I hope it comes in a better package.