Release Date: June 1st, 2007 by MGM Pictures.
The Cast: Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, William Hurt, Marg Helgenberger, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Danielle Panabaker, Aisha Hinds, Lindsay Crouse.
Directed by Bruce A. Evans.
BASIC PREMISE: Earl Brooks (Costner), who has a double life as a family man and a serial killer, goes on one last killing spree with an accomplice, Mr.Smith (Cook) while his alter ego (Hurt) tags along.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Mr.Brooks has a decent cast, but suffers from plot holes as well as diminishing suspense and thrills. Kevin Costner plays the titular character who has a successful job as a business man, a loving wife (Helgenberger) and a teenage daughter (Panabaker), who recently dropped out of college. Little do they know that he has addiction to murdering people and, somehow, he hasn’t been caught. His latest double murder brings in detective Tracy Atwood (Moore), who suspects that a serial killer is on the loose. Just when Mr. Brooks’ alter ego convincing him to stop murdering, Mr. Smith, an amateur photographer, shows up with photos of him at the murder scene and, out-of-the-blue, asks him to be his accomplice in the next murder. That’s when the plot begins to feel preposterous. Co-writer/director Bruce A. Evans includes slick production values, but awkwardly combines dark humor with diminishing suspense and a contrived drama with too many subplots—i.e. the FBI interrogates Mr.Brooks’ daughter when her ex-boyfriend in college has been murdered. Is she just as secretly evil as her father? That would have been a much more compelling and suspenseful plot to focus on rather than on Mr. Brooks and Mr. Smith trying to evade detective Atwood. Unfortunately, Mr.Brooks isn’t as developed as a character compared to Hannibal Lecter, for example. It would have been interesting if Bruce A. Evans had included some background information about how he developed this addiction to killing. On a positive note, William Hurt chews up his few scenes as the alter ego. By the time the over-the-top, gimmicky third act comes around, you won’t care whether or not somebody catches Mr. Brooks. For a much smarter, character-driven, believable movie involving a family man who also kills people on the side, rent the hidden gem Panic.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A preposterous, gimmicky plot with diminishing suspense and thrills.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 9
IN A NUTSHELL: Slick production values and a decent cast, but with a preposterous, gimmicky plot with diminishing suspense and thrills.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
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