"Brutally Creepy Humanism"
MR. BROOKS is one of those serious-minded character studies of a vicious serial killer. It is very well done, but the bottom line is that the movie often makes murder look like lots of fun. This is one of the movie’s main themes: to show how tempting such sin can be. Even so, the effect of this aspect of the movie will be to tempt some people to consider committing murder.
Kevin Costner plays the title role of Mr. Earl Brooks, a successful, mild-mannered businessman in Portland, Ore., who also happens to be a serial killer with a split personality. The movie opens with Earl receiving a businessman of the year award from the Chamber of Commerce. Later that night, his wife goes to bed to read while Earl goes to his art studio, where he keeps his gun. Although he tells his alter ego, Marshall (played very sinisterly by William Hurt), that he doesn’t want to kill again, Marshall convinces Earl to sneak into a house they’ve been watching and murder two people having intercourse in front of their bedroom window.
Marshall berates Earl for doing the murders in front of the window while the drapes are open. Sure enough, a man in an apartment across the way who saw the crime blackmails Earl, not for money, but to make Earl take him with him the next time he kills.
MR. BROOKS also concerns itself with the female detective, Tracy Atwood (played extremely well by Demi Moore), tracking Earl’s killing spree. Tracy has inherited lots of money, but remains a detective to get acceptance from her distant father, who wanted a boy instead.
There is a final twist to Earl’s situation that adds to his personal problems. His daughter has quit college not only because she is pregnant but also because she murdered a man herself. Earl loves his daughter, but he is not only worried that the police will find out about his daughter but also that his daughter is herself a psychopathic killer whose next victim just might be Earl himself.
The roles in MR. BROOKS are juicy ones, provided by a well-plotted, suspenseful and complex script. There are too many sub-plots, however. Also, the story is hurt a bit by some psycho-babble about the main characters. In fact, Earl has tremendous guilt over his crimes and attends group therapy sessions for alcohol and drug addiction (somehow, he hides the details about his own addiction from the group). This recovery therapy has taught Earl to repeatedly pray to God the AA deliverance prayer, but he still can’t shake his apparent addiction. Thus, the movie not only often suggests that murder is a fun and challenging profession, but also ironically implies that appeals to God for deliverance are not very helpful.
Ultimately, MR. BROOKS is more likely to encourage people to commit murder as well as encourage them to avoid God. The movie also contains lots of very strong foul language, brutal violence, sex, and nudity.
(HHH, C, B, LLL, VVV, SS, NN, A, DD, MMM) Very strong implied humanist worldview often makes murder look like fun and suggests appeals to God for deliverance do not work, but the appeals to God (based on a famous Christian recovery prayer) appear to be sincere for what it’s worth; at least 40 obscenities (many “f” words), three strong profanities and four light profanities; extreme, brutal violence with blood regarding a serial killer hunted by police such as point blank shootings, man’s throat sliced by shovel, gunfight, murder suicide, woman kidnapped at gun point, struggle in van causes vehicle crashes, man stabbed in neck with scissors bleeds to death, and corpse killed by multiple drug injections has been hanged; depicted sex scene, implied voyeurism and man kisses woman in bra but they are interrupted; shots of upper female nudity in one scene and woman in bra in another scene; alcohol use; smoking and man murdered by multiple drug injections; and, kidnapping, revenge, lying, covering up a murder by doing another murder, breaking and entering, stalking, blackmail, greed, and talk about getting an abortion that’s not resolved one way or another.
MR. BROOKS stars Kevin Costner as Earl Brooks, a successful, mild-mannered businessman in Portland, Oregon, who is also a serial killer with a split personality. William Hurt plays Marshall, the other half of Earl’s psychopathic personality. As a female detective (played by Demi Moore) follows their trail, Earl and Marshall agree to let a blackmailer participate in their next murder. Complicating matters is the fact that Earl’s beloved college-age daughter has also murdered someone, and the police are investigating her. Earl is worried not only that the police will arrest his daughter but also that his daughter is a psychopathic killer whose next victim just might be Earl himself.
The roles in MR. BROOKS are juicy ones, provided by a well-plotted, suspenseful script. The story is hurt by some psycho-babble. The movie also lightly mocks Earl’s attempts to overcome his psychopathic addiction by attending group therapy sessions for addicts, including praying to God for deliverance. Ultimately, MR. BROOKS is more likely to encourage people to commit murder as well as encourage them to avoid God. The movie also contains lots of very strong foul language, brutal violence, sex, and nudity.