Monday, August 1, 2011

Mr. Brooks (2007)

Well Done, Mr. Costner

- Although featuring a worthwhile Kevin Costner lead performance, Mr. Brooks (2007) left me with mixed feelings for three big reasons. One reason is that the film is greatly disturbing and graphically violent as hell to the point of disliking it; another is the poor supporting performances from Demi Moore and Dane Cook that really takes the viewer out of the movie; and the third is the messy narrative that sees its main story clogged up with useless sub-plots.

If you saw him, you would never take Mr. Earl Brooks (Costner) for a murderer. A family man and successful businessman - even the recent winner of Portland's Man Of The Year Award - Mr. Brooks has kept his murdering addiction a secret. AA meetings have kept Mr. Brooks (Kevin Costner) from giving into this addiction for two years now but his evil alter-ego, Marshall (William Hurt), is back and wants to kill again. When Mr. Brooks goes back to kill one more time, he is blackmailed by a photographer, Mr. Smith (Dane Cook, who has caught him in the act and wants to be taught how to kill in return for not going to the police. Meanwhile, Detective Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore) is hot on their trail while dealing with problems of her own.

It seems as the older I get, the more I abhor truly sickening graphic violence in films - and I am only 24, which means that I will probably be relegated to Disney films and The Lifetime Channel by the age of 35. I have a much harder time watching disturbing and graphic murders than I do other kinds of screen violence (ie. 007, westerns), I guess it is because they feel more personal, evil, and tend to be more graphic. Anyway, Mr. Brooks is definitely one of those films for me - I honestly cannot understand how a person can be addicted to killing people and it is - sorry to be so redundant but - disturbing.

The film's violence is hard to stomach but Kevin Costner is not, giving one of his greatest performance ever here in Mr. Brooks. Usually hit or miss for me, Costner is a huge hit here with his impressive performance of a strange character. Other members of the cast help Costner out; William Hurt was pretty good for what he had to do as Costner's evil over-the-top alter-ego and Danielle Panabaker was good as well as Mr. Brooks' daughter.

However, Demi Moore and Dane Cook were nothing but detractors for the film, unbelievable in their respective roles in their own ways. Moore was unbelievable because she was supposed to be some kind of badass cop and failed at looking badass, acting badass, and, well, being badass. One scene calls for Moore to kick down a door and it was all I could do to not burst out in laughter. Dane Cook was unconvincing in his role because he simply cannot act - why the filmmakers did not go with an actual actor is beyond me.

Also, a bunch of sub-plots that crowd up the narrative in Mr. Brooks. Atwood's divorce, the loose criminal out to get Atwood (and Mr. Brooks' secret assistance in catching him), and Mr. Brooks' daughter's subplot felt unnecessary and distracted from the main story. All these extra plot points seemed to do was add a bunch of extra drama to a plot that had already had plenty of it and made the film convoluted as a result.

While not a bad film per se, Mr. Brooks is not particularly all that great a film either. A great Kevin Costner performance pretty much saves the whole thing - I cannot believe I just said that....

CBC Rating: 6/10

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