|Directed by||Bruce A. Evans|
|Music by||Ramin Djawadi|
|Edited by||Miklos Wright|
|Distributed by||Metro-Goldwyn Mayer|
|Box office||$48.1 million|
Mr. Brooks is a 2007 American psychological thriller film directed by Bruce A. Evans starring Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, and William Hurt. It was released on June 1, 2007. The film follows the eponymous character, a celebrated Portland businessman and serial killer (Costner) who is forced to take on a protégé (Cook) after being blackmailed, and has to contend with his bloodthirsty alter ego (Hurt) who convinces him to indulge his "habit". His life grows even more complicated when a driven police officer (Moore) reopens the investigation into his murders. The film was commercially successful and has inspired a modest cult following.
Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner) is a wealthy, successful businessman recently honored by the Portland, Oregon Chamber of Commerce as "Man of the Year". However, Brooks lives a secret life as a serial murderer, known as the "Thumbprint Killer". Brooks has abstained from murder for the past two years by attending twelve-step meetings for addicts, to try and cope with his "killing addiction".
He feels the compulsion to kill rising again, however, as Marshall (William Hurt), an imaginary man who represents Brooks' dark side, becomes more insistent. To satisfy his addiction, Brooks kills a young couple while they are having sex in their apartment and, as part of his psychopathology, leaves each of the victims' bloody thumbprints on a lampshade. Brooks follows his meticulous modus operandi, including fastidious preparation, cleaning up the crime scene, even locking the doors before departing, and burning the clothes he was wearing during the killings.
Marshall then realizes that the couple's curtains were open, facing an apartment building. Brooks' daughter Jane (Danielle Panabaker) unexpectedly arrives home, having dropped out of college in Palo Alto, California. She visits Brooks at work and mentions that she would like to get a job with his company. The same day, "Mister Smith" (Dane Cook) turns up at Brooks' work and blackmails him with photographs of Brooks at the most recent murder. A budding psychopath himself, Smith demands that Brooks take him along on a murder, to which he reluctantly agrees.
Brooks' wife, Emma (Marg Helgenberger), reveals that Jane dropped out of college because she is pregnant. The Brookses are then visited by detectives from Palo Alto who want to interview Jane about a hatchet murder committed in her former dorm building. Marshall and Brooks realize that Jane committed the murder and consider letting her go to jail to "save her" from becoming like them.
Eventually, however, Brooks uses an alternate identity, flies to Palo Alto, and commits a similar murder to make it appear as if a serial killer is loose, thereby exonerating Jane. Brooks decides that he no longer wants to kill, but knows that he cannot stop himself. Not wanting to be caught and shame his family, Brooks concocts a plan where he will write a note to his family claiming to be terminally ill, and leaving, never to return, while in reality he will die and cover up his own death.
Brooks researches the background of the police officer chasing the Thumbprint Killer, Detective Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore), and discovers she's in the middle of an agonizing divorce from Jesse Vialo (Jason Lewis). Brooks decides that Vialo and his lawyer, Sheila (Reiko Aylesworth), will be Smith's first "victims". At the scene of the Vialo murder, Smith wets his pants in a fit of panic, leaving his DNA for the police to discover later. While driving away from the scene, Smith pulls a gun on Brooks, which Brooks and Marshall had predicted would happen.
Brooks explains his plan to Smith, who agrees to kill Brooks. Brooks takes Smith to a cemetery he owns, and explains that they will find an open grave. Smith will shoot Brooks and then cover him with just enough dirt to mask the body. The next day, a casket will be lowered into the grave and covered, and Brooks' body will never be discovered. Smith attempts to shoot Brooks, but Brooks reveals that, at some point prior, he had broken into Smith's apartment and bent the firing pin on Smith's pistol, rendering it inoperable on the off-chance that Brooks would change his mind.
Brooks' brush with death makes him realize he wants to live to see his grandchild, and he turns on his would-be murderer, slitting Smith's throat with a shovel and hiding his body in the open grave. With Smith's urine providing the only DNA evidence of the Thumbprint Killer at a murder scene, Brooks will remain undetected. Mr. Smith is named as the Thumbprint Killer and Brooks returns to his normal life.
Knowing he is in the clear, Brooks calls Detective Atwood, whom he has come to admire, to ask her why she is a police officer. She replies that her wealthy father had wanted a boy, and she wanted to succeed in spite of him. Atwood is unable to trace the call before Brooks hangs up, but she realizes that the Thumbprint Killer is still at large. That night, Brooks has a nightmare in which Jane murders him, suggesting that he fears Jane will become like him.
- Kevin Costner as Earl Brooks
- Demi Moore as Detective Tracy Atwood
- William Hurt as Marshall
- Dane Cook as Mr. Smith / Graves Baffert
- Marg Helgenberger as Emma Brooks
- Danielle Panabaker as Jane Brooks
- Aisha Hinds as Nancy Hart, Atwood's lawyer
- Jason Lewis as Jesse Vialo
- Reiko Aylesworth as Sheila
- Matt Schulze as Thornton Meeks
- Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Detective Hawkins
- Lindsay Crouse as Captain Lister
- Michael Cole as Atwood's lawyer
Mr. Brooks opened in 2.453 theaters and grossed $10,017,067, with an average of $4,083 per theater and ranking #4 at the North American box office. The film ultimately grossed $28,549,298 domestically and $19,572,602 internationally for a total of $48,121,900 worldwide, above its $20 million budget.
Mr. Brooks received mixed reviews from film critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, a Review aggregator, the film has a score of 55% based on 153 reviews with an average rating of 5.7 out of 10. The critical consensus states "The setup is intriguing, but Mr. Brooks overstuffs itself with twists and subplots, becoming more preposterous as it goes along." Costner and Hurt were both praised for their performances. The film also has a score of 45 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 34 critics indicating "mixed or average reviews".
On the director's commentary, Bruce Evans said that the film was to be the first of a trilogy, but as with any franchise it depended on the film's profits. Despite its commercial success, there are no plans to make further films. Speaking in April 2009, Panabaker said, "Everybody wanted to make a trilogy. I saw Kevin [Costner] last summer and we still would love to. The idea of my character and Kevin's character, it'd be so much fun. I think you got to see how manipulative they both are, with each other. I would have loved to have done three."
The film's soundtrack features Ramin Djawadi's score and the song "Vicious Traditions" by The Veils. Ramin Djawadi was nominated for the World Soundtrack Award in category Discovery of the Year in 2007. English metalcore band Asking Alexandria wrote a song based on the film entitled "Hey There Mr. Brooks" for their 2009 debut album "Stand Up And Scream".
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- "Mr. Brooks". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
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- "Mr. Brooks - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
- "Mr. Brooks (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
- "Mr. Brooks a Trilogy". canmag.com.
- "Panabaker Describes Alternate Friday the 13th Kill". Shock Till You Drop. April 7, 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2009.
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- Mr. Brooks at the Internet Movie Database
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- Mr. Brooks at Rotten Tomatoes
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