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  Mr. Brooks Me And My Shadows
Year: 2007
Director: Bruce A. Evans
Stars: Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, William Hurt, Marg Helgenberger, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Danielle Panabaker, Aisha Hinds, Lindsay Crouse, Jason Lewis, Reiko Aylesworth, Matt Schulze, Yasmine Delawari, Traci Dinwiddie, Michael Cole, Jim Farnum
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's all going so well for millionaire businessman Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner) that he might have known there were bad times just around the corner. At a dinner to announce his "Man of the Year" award, he begins to feel his old addiction returning, and while he manages to hold it together and as usual not let on to anyone that his craving is taking over once again, on the drive home with his wife Emma (Marg Helgenberger) he spots a couple who will satisfy him, and makes up an excuse to his wife that he wants to stop for ice cream. Later that night, Mr Brooks will be sated: with murder...

A curio that was not quite weird enough for its own good, Mr Brooks was written by the team of Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon, with Evans taking the director's reins for the first time since the unimpressive Christian Slater vehicle Kuffs back in the early nineties. This was a film tailor made for Costner, and you can see why they wanted to craft such a character around him, as Brooks is pretty much one of his decent men driven to extraordinary acts; it just so happens that those acts are not a force for good, but a force for pure evil.

Yes, Kev is a serial killer in this, but Evans and Gideon, perhaps recognising that this might be hard to swallow, give the lead character an alter ego so it appears that he is not wholly responsible for his actions. This is a chap only he can see, Marshall, played with needling cunning by William Hurt, who represents Brook's obsession with killing, something he has not indulged for two years. Yet Marshall is always there, carrying out conversations with him that nobody can hear, and this relationship is one of the most interesting in the film as they reason darkly with one another but remain on friendly terms, even sharing a conspiratorial joke or two.

For this reason Brooks can seem distant from the other characters, that is until his double murder in the couple's apartment which he has not noticed he has committed with the curtains open - and he has been seen. The witness calls himself Mr Smith (Dane Cook), and has a proposition for the psychopath: take him along on one of his murders and he won't go to the police with the incriminatiing photographs he has taken. Mr Smith is presented as somehow more despicable than Mr Brooks because he is a seedy opportunist, merely a thrillseeker and not the connoisseur of killing that we're told his new acquaintance is.

Yes, we're in that wearisome cliché of serial killers after Hannibal Lecter, the type who is actually some kind of criminal genius, but Costner doesn't play him theatrically, preferring to match the low key mood of the rest of the piece. Indeed, there's a strange lack of urgency about the film that even cuts away from the violence instead of gloating over it, at least until the final quarter hour. Brooks has someone else to give him trouble, though, and she is Detective Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore), an unlikely millionaire herself who has taken up the police as a profession, something which baffles Brooks. She is going through a messy divorce, and her new admirer is interested in helping her with that... There's an uneasy tone to this which presents murder as actually a handy way of solving problems as long as you get the right person to do it - that is until the end where we're made to understand there is nothing inherently glamorous about the movies' style of such thrillers, and that Brooks is a very sick, even pathetic man whose influence is nothing to admire. This is not for everyone, but those who like it will like it a lot. Music by Ramin Djawadi.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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