Thursday, August 15, 2013

Addicted To Killing

Marshall: "Why do you fight it so hard, Earl?"
Mr. Earl Brooks: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time and enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardships as the pathway to peace. Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is and not as I would have it, trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will, that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen."

Mr. Brooks (2007) is a perfect example of a good thriller. Once in a while there comes a movie which restores my faith in intelligent thrillers and this is certainly one of them. Kevin Costner portrays Earl Brooks, a wealthy businessman, recently honored as Man of the Year by Portland Chamber of Commerce. He comes across as gentle and soft-spoken by nature, at least a part of him does. He shares his life with wife Emma (Marg Helgenberger) and daughter Jane (Danielle Panabaker) and his thoughts with his menacing alter-ego Marshall (William Hurt). There is a shockingly dark personality behind Brooks' timid character as he is addicted to killing, a disorder which he can't conquer. He is a serial-killer,a thorough professional who leaves no trace after committing the crime. 

"Don't kid yourself, Earl. You're going to kill again."
Brooks gives in to his deadly temptation after controlling it for two years. After killing a young couple he decides to quit but gets blackmailed into doing it again by Mr. Smith (Dane Cook). Smith wants to witness a murder, a twisted desire which he can make come true by blackmailing Brooks. What follows is Brooks' fight against his sick addiction which is constantly fueled by Marshall's persistence and Smith's threats. The trio has detective Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore) on their trail as they prepare to commit another murder. Atwood, while fighting her own demons is determined to bring the killer out in the open. Director Bruce Evans has done an amazing job with combining the two different characters of Brooks and Hurt into one. While Brooks struggles to control his addiction, Hurt is constantly encouraging him to give in to it. He is a nice guy (Brooks) with a bad conscience (Marshall). With the disease that he has, his worry of passing it on to his child turns real as Jane shows signs of following in his footsteps.

"She has what I have."
Kevin Costner playing a bad guy did sound strange at first but he has done a brilliant job. This is one of the best performances I've witnessed by him. William Hurt, who is non-existent to everyone but Costner is nothing but his deepest and darkest thoughts and he is also very impressive. They are wonderful together and have created a monster of a character in the form of Earl Brooks. Demi Moore is okay as an unfaltering detective who also has her own personal issues to deal with. However, the movie could have done with less of her personal woes in my opinion. Dane Cook adds to Brooks' struggle and he is decent in his role. What makes this movie unique are the roles of Costner and Hurt, they are the lifeline of the story and there is not a moment when their performance is lackluster. The idea of the character of Mr. Brooks is great and the execution is excellent. This is one thriller that definitely does not disappoint. 


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