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Mr. Brooks
A story that has been made many times before
Mr. Brooks
Kevin Costner and William Hurt Star in "Mr. Brooks".
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $19,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

October 25th, 2006: Mr. Brooks (Kevin Costner) is a relatively normal man with a wife (Marg Helgenberger) and a daughter (Danielle Panabaker). Buried beneath the ordinary façade, however, is an emotionally tortured soul of a person harboring a dark secret. Mr. Brooks’ devious alter ego Marshall (William Hurt) loves murder and mayhem and pushes Mr. Brooks to commit heinous deeds. As much as he is determined to remain disciplined and to fight the sinister urges, Mr. Brooks cannot fully resist Marshall’s influence and lives a second life as a serial killer. His rampage catches the attention of detective Attwood (Demi Moore), a tough female cop devoted to her craft and to catching the culprit. His intelligence, however, gains her respect and eventually leads to a strange symbiotic relationship between the two.

What to Expect: Bruce A. Evans’ only other directing effort came nearly 15 years ago with the dreadful Christian Slater comedy, Kuffs. It is almost understandable that he has not been able to bring himself back behind the lens up until now. In the meantime, he did write screenplays for Cutthroat Island and Jungle 2 Jungle with Raynold Gideon. Since the two have collaborated once again on the script for Mr. Brooks, their history together does not form the most assuring resume. However, when you take into consideration that in the mid-80s Evans and Gideon wrote Starman for John Carpenter and adapted Stephen King’s Stand by Me for Rob Reiner, then there is a glimmer of hope after all.

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With a cast of A-listers like this, one would certainly expect Mr. Brooks to have something to offer. Academy Award winner Kevin Costner, who has seen a resurgence in his career in the past couple of years, should probably be applauded for going strongly against type and taking on the role of a serial killer. While I tend to enjoy that sort of casting, I’m a little worried that it could turn out to be nothing more than a weak marketing ploy sort of along the lines of having Keanu Reeves play the killer in The Watcher a few years back. Still, Costner is likely to be the timid half of a man whose more dangerous side will be played by William Hurt. Given Hurt’s range and his Oscar nominated performance as an over-the-top villain in last year’s A History of Violence, I’m sure he can create another menacing character. Demi Moore’s role as yet another woman of power is certainly not a stretch by any means, but it’s exactly the type of part that contributed to a decline in her popularity in the late 90s. Most out-of-place, however, is the recently red hot comedian Dane Cook, who will play Mr. Brooks’ accomplice, Mr. Smith. Playing opposite such big stars in his first serious role, Cook stands to gain the most out of this project.

For those curious about how the film will logistically shift between the two personalities, Mr. Brooks and Marshall, it is common knowledge that Costner and Hurt share many scenes in the picture. There is never any actual physical transformation from one character to the other so Mr. Brooks never becomes Marshall or vice-versa. Schizophrenia certainly plays a role in the movie, but Mr. Brooks is always followed and haunted by his counterpart, who has an actual physical presence in the scenes. Mr. Brooks spends most of the time contemplating confession while Marshall continues to persuade him to kill more. In that sense it will be similar to thrillers like Fight Club or Raising Cain.

There’s really no big surprise in the movie about who is doing the killing, but the film is being hyped as a dark psychological thriller with several twists. Variations of this story have already been brought to the screen on numerous occasions. One only needs to look at the aforementioned titles or any Brian De Palma or Alfred Hitchcock flick for that matter to find similar themes. This type of story goes all the way back to its Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde origins and even its title, Mr. Brooks, alludes to that. As far as the cop-killer relationship is concerned, any of the Hannibal Lecter films could have served as a possible inspiration.

In Conclusion: There really is very little original material here, so much so that Mr. Brooks almost sticks out as a product of a fad long gone. If it had been made in the mid-90s it probably would have disappeared in a crowd. If it had been made a couple of decades ago, on the other hand, it might have actually had something to offer. I do like this cast, but with the exception of William Hurt, the actors feel altogether wrong for this project. I doubt Bruce Evans can elevate the material beyond the routine and I don’t think audiences will find much interest in it either.

Similar Titles: Raising Cain, Identity
June 1st, 2007 (wide)
October 23rd, 2007 (DVD)


Bruce Evans

Kevin Costner, William Hurt, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, Marg Helgenberger, Danielle Panabaker, Traci Dinwiddie, Matt Schulze

Total: 92 vote(s).

Drama, Suspense

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Rated R for strong bloody violence, some graphic sexual content, nudity and language

95 min






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