Mr. Brooks - Our Mr. Brooks
| Writer/director Bruce Evans doesnít make films that often. When he does, they seem fairly bland. Which is why I found it odd that he chose to make Mr. Brooks a smart, intriguing and beguiling story from a book. Itís also interesting that he chose such a bland cast for this interesting story.
As a story, Mr. Brooks is fascinating. Itís about a somewhat sympathetic sociopath (Kevin Costner) who wants to stop killing but is driven by his psychosis to do it. There are a lot of great things going on in the background including the struggles of the cop who is hunting him down (Demi Moore), the fan who wants to learn how to be like him (Dane Cook), his daughter who may be getting to be more like her father every day and his struggle to save himself from himself. He attends AA and treats his sickness as an addiction, one he believes he can overcome. For sheer story value, Mr. Brooks gets top marks.
But unfortunately, Evens films the piece to vanilla that the audience never gets quite into it enough to really get behind Mr. Books. Kevin Costner, although turning out to be quite the director himself, has always been a wooden and plain actor and he just doesnít bring any charisma to the lead character. Heís no Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector and heís not even Matt Damon as Tom Ripley (a much better comparison). Therefore itís hard to care too much about Mr. Brooks and whether he survives, kills again or saves those he loves.
it's never really creepy enough. There was good opportunity to be creepy with the scenes involving William Hurt who plays the voice of Brooks' addiction. However, most of this just comes off as goofy. Wrestling with inner demons should be frightening, especially when your demons tell you to kill, but there really is little frightening about Brooks.
Like The Talented Mr. Ripley, which has you on the edge of your seat for the entire picture and gets you inside the head of a killer so much that you actually care for him, Mr. Brooks needs you to get into the character of Mr. Brooks and become invested in him. If Evens had been able to do that we may have had the beginning to a thrilling series. Instead we have a fairly entertaining one off that doesnít resonate with you after you leave. Good enough for a nice evening but nothing to get too worked up about.
It would have been interesting to see what a better director could have done with this story. Maybe Costner himself should have done it. There is far more energy in Open Range than in this little film.