Not a complete waste of time and money. A somewhat mediocre treatment of an idea that would've been better treated and subsequently expressed by a smarter director with more existential depth, someone like David Cronenberg for example. Costner continues to bug, William Hurt doesn't. A decent HBO movie for nights with nothing better to do.
out of a possible 5 stars.
Plot from Wikipedia, link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Brooks
Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner) is an upstanding business owner and family man who, at the beginning of the film, is named the Portland Chamber of Commerce’s Man of the Year. Secretly, Earl is addicted to killing – a dark side of his psyche that manifests into a gleefully sadistic alter ego named Marshall (William Hurt). After receiving the chamber’s recognition, Earl ends his two-year killing drought with a thrill killing of a dance couple at their home. Though Earl’s meticulous planning is almost a science, he makes a big faux pas by shooting the victims when the blinds are open.
Earl attends a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous without telling the group the nature of his addiction. He tells Marshall that his constant attendance at the meetings has kept his demons in check for two years. The next day, Earl’s daughter, Jane, comes home, having dropped out of school. Jane reveals that she’s pregnant, but Earl fears his daughter is hiding a worse secret. More pressing, though, is the appearance of “Mr. Smith” (Dane Cook), a peeping tom who was photographing the dance couple making love when they were shot – and now knows that Earl is the serial killer known as the “Thumbprint Killer.” Smith’s demand is that he tag along with Earl on the next killing – a proposition Earl agrees to. However, for several days Earl postpones the murder, to Smith's frustration.
Meanwhile, Portland Detective Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore) takes on the Thumbprint Killer case and quickly zeroes in on the neighbor Mr. Smith (real name Bafford) – suspecting that he’s hiding something. Tracy is dealing with her own problems, though, as her sleazy ex-husband wants a large divorce settlement, and a serial killer she previously locked up (“Meeks”) has broken out of jail and wants her dead. Meeks attacks Tracy on the street, but she escapes with moderate injuries.
Detectives arrive at Earl’s house, but not to speak to him, but rather his daughter, who left school abruptly after a student was murdered with a hatchet. Jane pleads innocence to questioning. Earl realizes that his daughter is guilty and afflicted with the same “addiction” he has. To save her, he travels to her college campus in disguise and replicates her hatchet murder, making it appear that a serial killer on campus must be responsible rather than Jane. The ploy works. At the same time, Earl and Marshall talk about how to stay one step ahead of Mr. Smith and his blackmail, while also learning everything they can about their police pursuer, Tracy.
Earl begins to reevaluate his own life and decides it’s for the best if he himself was murdered – a decision that infuriates Marshall. His plan is to take Mr. Smith out on a thrill killing (as promised) in the hopes that Smith will get up the nerve to then kill Earl. Tracy gets a search warrant for Mr. Smith’s apartment, believing him to be the Thumbprint Killer. When she enters the apartment, she finds it empty, with only a forwarding address where the furniture supposedly is. She investigates the address, but is shocked to find it’s the hideout location of Meeks. A gunfight ensues, and Tracy injures both Meeks and his girlfriend. With jail inevitable, Meeks kills his girlfriend and himself.
At the thrill killing location, it’s revealed that Earl's targets are Tracy’s sleazy ex-husband and his divorce attorney, who are now lovers. After Smith urinates down his leg out of nervousness, Earl steps out of the shadows and murders both victims. Just as planned, Smith is exhilarated by the killings and pulls a gun on Earl in the car afterward. The men end up at a cemetery, where Smith is going to shoot Earl so he falls into an open grave. Smith pulls the trigger, but the gun doesn’t fire. Earl reveals that he manipulated the gun because he changed his mind about being killed. Earl kills Smith and buries him in the open grave. With Smith’s DNA at the last Thumbprint Killer crime scene (his urine) and Tracy’s suspicion, Earl knows his identity is still safe. Earl also says that he was the one who arranged for Tracy to find Meeks.
After the killings, Earl is back to his normal life, pledging to Marshall that the killings are over. He has another fear now: that his pregnant daughter’s thrill for killings will eventually make him a victim. Earl calls Tracy anonymously and gets her to confess exactly why she became a cop. She recognizes that the voice is not Bafford (Smith), so she has a hunch that the real Thumprint Killer is still out there.
Earl promises Marshall that he will never kill again, and goes upstairs to bed. As he kisses the seemingly sleeping Jane goodnight, she suddenly stabs him in the neck with a pair of scissors and watches him bleed to death. Earl wakes up, revealing the previous scene to have been a nightmare, and begins to pray as the film ends.
"O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of GOD is the most righteous. GOD is Omniscient, Cognizant." (49:13)
Last edited by Sohel; January 23, 2008 at 04:50 AM.