Movies From the Black Lagoon: Mr. Brooks

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Mr. Brooks - 2007, Rated R
By Tom Doty
Weekly Contributing Writer

A serial killer deals with an assortment of issues while trying to go straight in this ambitious psychological thriller that benefits from good locations and a seasoned cast.
We first meet Mr. Brooks in an ironic scene where he is accepting the 'Man of the Year Award' from the Portland Chamber of Commerce. Turns out he is a crackerjack businessman who has made his fortune manufacturing boxes. His organizational skills are about to be put to the test. You see he has an imaginary friend, Marshall, who is urging him to kill but that's nothing compared to his daughter who has just comeback from college announcing she is pregnant and a top suspect in a murder investigation.
Brooks opts to perform a killing and immediately regrets it when a "Peeping Tom" accidentally records his deed. The guy turns up at Brook's business and springs a new surprise on our hero-he wants to learn how to kill people. Brooks takes him on as an apprentice to buy time while figuring out how to get his hands on the photos this guy took.
Meanwhile a detective named Atwood is very upset to find Brooks' latest victims. She was kind of hoping he had died or been arrested since the killings stopped two years earlier. She is also a wee bit distracted owing to a messy divorce and the escape of a killer who has vowed to kill her.
On the home front Mr. Brooks is swamped when the police close in on his daughter. He makes the decision to kill again in order to confuse the police who are investigating his daughter. His plans are somewhat hampered by his apprentice who is now the main suspect in the murders that Brooks committed.
Things get even tenser when Brooks tells Marshall he plans to disappear and save his family any embarrassment should he ever be found out. To this end he plans to vanish after pinning his killings on his apprentice. Nice plan but it might just prove impossible for any 'man of the Year" to juggle this many balls. It all builds to a well-orchestrated double climax as he helps his assistant commit his first murder while Atwood faces off against the other killer and his trigger-happy helper in a remote hotel.
It would be a real crime to reveal all of the twists here so I'll just note that the final jolt here is well worth the effort of renting this two faced flick.
This all works thanks to an excellent cast that is led by Kevin Costner as Brooks. He wisely plays the man as a low-key fusspot and only occasionally lets you see the evil underneath his nerdy persona. William Hurt is also quite good as the imaginary friend who acts as Brooks' conscience, or is that lack thereof? Demi Moore is also on hand as the dogged Detective Atwood and she gets to be in an excellent action sequence that finds her abducted off the street by a hulking bad guy. The ensuing fight in the confined quarters of a van turns out to be pretty exciting. Especially when she manages to choke the drives and cause an accident that only Wiley E. Coyote could ever hope to walk away from. The director does an exceptional job, which is the real hat trick here as the only other film he ever made was the universally panned "Kuffs."
Best Lines: "What I want is for you to take me with you, the next time you kill someone. And I'd like that to be soon."
"We can go on happily with our tortured lives."
"Just honk. Maybe he'll get killed crossing the street. Save us the mess of doing it."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: