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Mr. Brooks (2007)
Directed by Bruce A. Evans Written by Bruce A. Evans & Raynold Gideon
In this psychological thriller we examine Mr. Brooks (Kevin Costner); a charming fellow, recently named man of the year who otherwise maintained what others would perceive as the perfect image of an ‘ideal’ man. Exuberating in self-confidence on the outside while on the inside, battles a terrible addiction of a growing sensation to kill. Best represented by his alter ego named Marshall (William Hurt) in which he held many a shared moments with throughout his life, unbeknown to those around ‘them.’ Coming home to a loving and supporting wife (Marg Helgenberger) and daughter Jane (Danielle Panabaker), who had just returned from school on what seemed as though having left on a whim. Later discovering a pregnancy from a married man with two previous kids being the real cause, or at least, what she was willing to divulge to her parents. Mr. Earl Brooks otherwise extremely aware of his surroundings as an intelligent individual, but taken through a strange array of events after slipping up on what was to be two years sober.
Having an admirer of sorts, in not only had a Mr. Smith (Dane Cook) bared witness to what was to be a last craving satisfied, but put Mr. Brooks in a rather fickle predicament. Torn between his own last wishes and faced with the threat of going to the Police if unable to tag along on what would be his next murder. Though the pictures placing him at the murder scene were lucky in that Mr. Smith was the only one with such viable information backed up, the failed photographer failed to realize the extent of Mr. Brooks capabilities. Easily able to maneuver around such an inept mind, the fact that this character had sought to attempt and pull a fast one simply made his obsession that much more satisfied. Dane Cook, sure to have caught a bit of flack for his perceived comedy in the past, comes full circle in this film for myself. Replaced by Zach Braff after leaving to focus in on one of his own projects, it was Cook that showed up with the appearance suggestion. Very sullen and convincing in his performance makes it easy to state that this was his best role, for most obvious reasons.
Though not the only one breathing down his neck as Detective Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore) had found her way back into the case left open-ended those years back. A woman whose worth to her father dwindled with her birth, having preferred a boy. Yet becoming a Detective as some way to make up for it, refusing to indulge in the money her father was worth. Something her soon to be ex husband (Jason Lewis) didn’t mind taking advantage of. Knowing the moves behind the “Thumbprint Killer” all too well, her greatest challenge would be a previous criminal having put away whose recent release from prison would prove just as life threatening.
Though I never heard a lot mentioned in regards to this film when first released, I’ve always been quite fond of it. The fact that it’s an independent film may be why it wasn’t as heavily circulated, claiming in meant to have been part of a trilogy. Something any studio would have gladly twisted had they got their hands on such. But I feel a great deal of the film’s success should be put into Kevin Costner’s hands. Having always been a first choice for who they wanted as Mr. Brooks, he was able to catch William Hurt’s attention and through a mutual friendship, Demi Moore as well. Stating on numerous occasions throughout shooting for those behind the script to stick to what they had. The writing itself being so good that there was no need to branch out with anything they thought may have added to it’s context after the fact. With not only good advice but maintaining that certain ‘boy next door’ appeal that the script needed, containing an underlining depth that he pulled off rather brilliantly. Everything about seeing the character coming to life, the “high” received after indulging in his addiction, the routine he had to ensure that no evidence was left behind. The relationship shared with Hurt. Marshall being a character that a lot of us hold within whether we may acknowledge it or not. Being something we can choose to ignore or give into, depending on how strong we are as a person. The two characters shared a simultaneous laugh that was so sinisterly satisfying in its context. You simply wanted to see more of their dynamic alone. Hurt, vivaciously conscious of his movements in regards to Costner and the camera, never took too much away from your focal point. And if anything, made it a curious nature to see just how many other ways they had gotten away with such an addiction in his past, if not his heyday. While the ending itself was ambiguously left, it’s where the other two films hoped to have made that I feel would have put any final pieces together. Surly something an audience may never see yet leaving a lot to let our minds wonder on exactly where Mr. Brooks troubled mind may take him next.