Mr. Brooks has just been voted ‘Man of the Year’ but is hiding a dark secret. He’s actually a serial killer known as ‘The Thumbprint Killer’, a murder responsible for dozens of deaths in Oregon. During his latest murder spree a man happens to have photographic evidence of Mr. Brooks in the act. Using this as levegae the man simply known as Mr. Smith (an excellent Dane Cook) negotiates a deal in which Brooks will teach him and eventually take him to commit a murder. Thats the setup for the brilliant Mr. Brooks an audacious, gripping movie filled with superb acting, top notch direction and beautiful cinematography. Kevin Costner is at his best here playing a man whos both a concerned father and raging sociopath.Costner’s interior monologue is personified in the form of actor William Hurt, their interaction while taking place mostly within Mr. Brook’s head are spellbinding and the two thespians are Oscar worthy in their respective portrayals.
While the subject matter may sound dark the filmmakers treat their subject and charcaters with respect. Never once does director Bruce A. Evans go for cheap thrills all the suspense is generated through strong charcater developments and firm payoffs of subtle set-ups sprinkled throuout the screenplay. All the actors (including a nice turn from Demi Moore) are given intellegent dialogue courtesy of screenwriters Evans and Raynold Gideon. Sure the plot is dense but never confusing. The story is told with a deliberate pace that at first seems awkward but soon turns beguiling.
I can’t say enough about Costner’s performance here, it’s a revelation. Especially coming from a movie star so late in their career. Some may argue that he has been equally as good in films like Dances With Wolves or JFK and while those are fine portrayals nothing Costner had previously done prepared me for the depths he achieved here. I think both he and the undervalued William Hurt deserved Oscar nomination for their work. Fairness in reporting requires me to confess that I didn’t enjoy the films last scene. I feel it is a weaker ending and that it has the fingerprints of some post production tinkering. Nevertheless Mr. Brooks is an excellent picture that should have found a bigger audience during it’s theatrical run. One of the best films of 2007.
Director: Bruce A. Evans
Stars: Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, William Hurt, Dane Cook