Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mr. Brooks

In case you’ve ever wondered what happened to former A-list actors Kevin Costner and Demi Moore, take a look at “Mr. Brooks,” which came out in 2007.

The film was recommended to me by a 20-year-old friend, who really liked it. I can see why someone that age would like it, someone who most likely was subjected to slasher films in her young movie-going career as the de rigeur teen flick. This movie, however, is – dare I say it? – better than that.

When we first meet Earl Brooks, we get the picture right away. He’s being honored as Man of the Year in his town. He’s very wealthy with a trophy wife (Marg Helgenberger). He wears bowties. He drinks milk.

However, he has a horrible secret: he likes to kill. He hasn’t killed for two years, but we follow him that night on another murderous spree because, as he tells his AA group, he’s addicted. There are several funny, more like quirky moments in the film, like when he tells his fellow compulsories, “My name is Earl, and I’m addicted,” and they clap. They never find out what he’s addicted to.

There are several more “quirks” to this movie, however. Should I give away spoilers? Oh, hell, you’re never going to see this film. So, Brooks seems to have a whole Batcave thing going, with a whole new residence for hiding false I.D., clothing, and a clunker that’s not traceable. He’s very careful. But along comes Dane Cook’s character, who has seen Brooks kill one night in the one time he made a mistake. He finds Brooks in his office, and tells him he doesn’t want to go to the police. Instead, he wants to feel what Mr. Brooks feels. He wants the thrill.

There are so many characters in this movie, so many major characters, that you might need a scorecard. There’s also a detective who’s breathing down Brooks’ neck, played by Demi Moore. However, Ms. Detective has problems of her own at home, like a trophy husband who wants more and more money in the divorce settlement. And there’s a daughter who seems to have left a real mess back in college. Oh, and lest I forget, William Hurt rides in the back of Brooks’ car. Hurt represents Brooks’ bad boy, the one urging him on. Hell, I’d love to have Bill Hurt in the back of my car, tossing out witty and sarcastic bon mots, but then I’d have to admit I was certifiable. And, as crazy as the idea is in the film, I loved the effect.

What do you get if you cast Kevin Costner in a film? Usually you get a guy the audience likes, someone the audience doesn't want to see hurt or, in this case, caught. Surprisingly, this movie is not scary at all. The camera is judicious in the killing scenes, showing you just enough blood to get the real specific idea.

Costner holds his own, and Moore is better than that. I won’t promise you that you’ll feel completely satisfied at the end with all of those loose storylines --- not to mention loose characters – but it’s certainly a different take on the serial killer story.

Thumb’s up.


At 12:04 PM, Blogger catattack said...

From my young friend: "Coolio. an excellent review. we have it 6 thumbs way up!! (there were 3 of us)."


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