Two in one


What’s this? Another serial killer movie? I thought Hannibal Lecter was the last word but obviously I am wrong. After Silence Of The Lambs there have been many, but few like Fight Club showed the two distinct sides to a killer’s personality. The concept has been there from the beginning of the last century with a book Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which was made into movies that said there could be two distinct characters in one person and one of them could be good while the other was horrid.

Mr Brooks, which has three stars acting in it, is the story of a serial killer that was controversial with critics. Some hated it while others loved it.

Basically it’s all about Brooks (Kevin Costner) who is at one level a successful man, a loving father and a pillar of the community. But then his alter ego (William Hurt) grabs him and he becomes a compulsive and methodical serial killer. We learn that William Hurt is the bad part of Kevin Costner’s good guy. The scenes between the two are pure black comedy.

But like Mr Brooks the movie has at least two if not more story lines. The other one involving Demi Moore acting as a cop chasing another serial killer and Mr Brooks.

The critics who thought the movie great were headed by Kit Bowen who says, “Score one for Kevin Costner. His dark and disturbingly compelling psychological thriller Mr Brooks could give the once powerful Dances with Wolves star his first hit in many moons.

Costner plays the title character Mr Brooks, who is not just any bad guy but a sociopathic serial killer with a cunning, wicked alter ego named Marshall (William Hurt) who eggs him on. Of course, on the surface, Brooks seems like a normal, successful business owner with a lovely wife (Marg Helgenberger) and college-aged daughter (Danielle Panabaker), and so far he has managed to keep his two incompatible worlds from intersecting. Until now. When an amateur photographer (Dane Cook) witnesses Mr Brooks in action, the killer finds himself entangled in the dark agenda of the opportunistic bystander — who calls himself Mr Smith — as well as hunted by a tenacious detective (Demi Moore). Thing is, Mr Brooks sort of wants to get caught, just to end it. Isn’t that what all good little serial killers want?

Finally, a starring vehicle Costner can sink his teeth into. He is always better when he’s edgy (that is Bull Durham, Upside of Anger), so playing full-blown evil works for him. Of course, his Mr Brooks isn’t completely without a moral compass. The ultra-Catholic Brooks views his predilection for murder, or “hunger” as he calls it, as an addiction and thus treats it accordingly by going to AA meetings. While the actor effectively shows this inner turmoil, Costner truly shines in his scenes with Hurt. A protagonist interacting with an alter ego, manifested for the audience but who is really only in his head, is a very tricky plot device. These actors make it work, though, conveying an easy rapport, especially when they are messing with Cook’s character. As for the stand-up comedian, he continues to branch out by playing the dimwitted Mr Smith to moderate effect. It’s actually a perfect fit for Cook and doesn’t require him to put out much effort. Moore also does a fine job as the determined Det Tracy Atwood, even though her character skews towards the clichéd as a rogue cop who likes to do things her own way, rules be damned!”