Zodiac Million Dollar

by admin on April 23, 2008

Zodiac Million Dollar

Zodiac Million Dollar

Film Review: Mr. Brooks

There have been few serial killer films this year that warrant a glimpse – Perfume, The Story of a Murderer and Zodiac and Behind the Mask are but a few, but with Mr. Brooks serial killers hit back harder then they have in some time. Unlike the cluttered Hannibal Rising, Mr. Brooks is a tour de force of star power that actually get it right for a change.

In a world of privilege and money Mr. Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner) has it all, a successful business, a loving wife (Marg Helgenberger), and a beautiful daughter now in college (Danielle Panabaker), but even though he has all that there is one thing he does not have – a piece of mind. Deep down inside Mr. Brooks harbors a secret that not even his family knows about – he likes to kill people. With the help of his better mental half Marshall (William Hurt), Mr. Brooks is slowly falling apart from lack of a good killing. In order to gain some semblance of self control Brooks decides to fall off the wagon (he goes to meeting to help him get over his “addiction” of killing people as he calls it) and kill a couple he has been eyeing for quite some time because what is killing if you don’t have any fun?

Unbeknownst to him that on the night he decides to return to his evil ways, Brooks is caught on film by an amateur photographer, which opens up an all new set on rules. Not only does Brooks have the photographer to worry about but Detective Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore) is closing in on him now that she has proof that the Thumb Print Murderer is back on the prowl again. Brooks is even more surprised when the photographer (Dane Cook), whom Brooks calls Mr. Smith, turns out to be a serial-killer wannabe and black mails Brooks into taking him out on his next kill. As Brooks tries to fight back the urge to kill again, both Marshall and Smith coax him back into the game claiming its part of his nature and who is he to deny his nature. When his daughter unexpectedly returns home from college with the murder of a fellow student clinging over her head, Brooks begins to worry that he may have passed his extracurricular activities off to her. With this fear comes guilt and with guilt comes mistakes which is all Detective Atwood needs to finally capture him.

Atwood is neither safe either as she is being hunted down by an escaped criminal that she put away and wants to see her dead and an ex-husband who cheated on her and wants a settlement of several millions of dollars from her estate. Atwood is as strong willed as Brooks in this regard. Neither one wants to give up on who they are or settle for the next best thing.

One of the things that makes Mr. Brooks such a compelling film is the way in which screenwriters Bruce A. Evans (who also directed) and Raynold Gideon craft such an intricate story of the pursued and the pursuer. All the film draws on you realize that the roles become reversed and blurred and neither Brooks nor Atwood are truly evil or truly good but somewhere they hover just above that line. Both characters are flawed and wanting to change but somehow find it easier relying on simply instinct or “nature” as some might describe.

The entire cast is at top form especially Hurt as Brooks’ Super-Id Marshall. He’s both menacing and compelling like he was in A History of Violence. Although she has a small role Helgenberger is magnificent as Brooks’ wife Emma, as Brooks battles with being the man she believes he is and wants to be with that of what he truly is. The side of him that he finds second nature is the evil he sees in his own murderous daughter Jane (Panabaker) whom he empathizes with because he believes she can’t help what she has become being of his genes.

Brooks finds himself torn between the two people he loves the once and soon wonders if they would be better off if he was no longer around. In Mr. Smith, we see how Brooks became the serial killer he is from the little mistakes to the perfection of the crime. It’s chilling to watch a man who loves his “work.”

Mr. Brooks achieves the pathos that the film Hannibal tried but failed while still managing to bring a whole new dimension of terror to the domestic home in which anybody and everybody is a victim.

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