Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Kevin Costner
MR. BROOKS (2007). Director/co-writer: Bruce A. Evans.

Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner) is Portland's Man of the Year, a respected family man and very successful businessman -- but he is also the serial killer known as the Thumbprint Killer, who shoots couples and arranges their bodies in "romantic" poses. He has an invisible alter ego named Marshall (William Hurt), who encourages him to commit murder even as Earl tries to stay on the straight and narrow. For the first time he makes a mistake by murdering a couple in front of a window, and a man calling himself Smith (Dane Cook) has taken photographs of the crime. But Smith doesn't want money -- he wants to go along on Brooks' next kill! Another complication for Earl is that there just may be another serial killer in his family, and there's a dogged lady detective (Demi Moore) on his trail. While Mr. Brooks has a few interesting twists, it isn't for a moment believable and there's not enough suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat. The performances are quite good -- Costner and Hurt are excellent, while Moore gives a showy if not entirely convincing portrayal of the cop -- and Marg Helgenberger and Danielle Panabaker are fine as Earl's wife and daughter, respectively; Cook also does well as the slimy, repulsive Smith. Morally ambiguous, to say the least. Despite the subject matter, there's very little gore in the film except for a climactic killing.

Verdict: Enough with the serial killers already! **1/2.

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