Mr. Brooks (2007)

Kevin Costner always plays the good guy in all of his films. In his memorable films, from Thirteen Days, to The Guardian, to on back to Tin Cup and Dances With Wolves, he's consistently been the all American guy that you'd want on your side. What makes Mr. Brooks immediately interesting is that in this film, Costner is the villain.

Costner plays Earl Brooks, who to all appearances has about as exciting an existence as Walter Mitty. He owns the local box manufacturing plant, is married to his wife Emma (Marg Helgenberger from "CSI"), has a daughter off at college, and when he wants to blow off some steam heads on out to his pottery shed. He even wins his town's "Man of the Year" award in the beginning of the film. This all makes it even more improbable that he'd be a serial murder so good at his craft, that he hasn't been caught for years. Hot on his trail is Detective Tracy Atwood, ably played by Demi Moore.

This duplicity is reinforced in that William Hurt plays his alter ego, known as Marshall. While Brooks loves to kill, unlike many serial killers portrayed on screen, he has a conscience and knows it's wrong. While Marshall encourages the kills, Brooks tries to suppress the urge, even going so far as to attend the local AA meetings to stay away from murdering.

As the film progresses, Brooks needs to do one more crime, this time to teach an apprentice killer, known only as the generic "Mr. Smith," played by rising actor Dane Cook. What follows becomes a sort of Serial Killing For Dummies as Brooks shows him the ropes of getting the job done and not getting caught. In addition, Brooks' daughter returns from college with plenty of additional drama that all ties in as the film progresses.

Mr. Brooks is a very strong movie. It is well acted, fast paced, and well plotted. True to a thriller, it has the audience guessing up to the very end as to how this will all turn out. While I wouldn't have guessed it, Kevin Costner plays a very good villain. If you're looking for a holiday rental, this is a good one, just don't watch it alone with the lights off!

Overall Grade: A+

Reviewed by Jonas

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