Serial killers are people too and, in the case of Mr Brooks, quite sensitive actually. Kevin Costner slips into the role with ease, battling his inner demon (played by an oily William Hurt) and striving to protect his family from the truth. It's a cleverly plotted story, mixing thrills and domestic spills but writer/director Bruce A Evans does overcomplicate matters. Despite numerous cutesy twists, it's the gradual unveiling of a warped morality that lures you into Brooks' world.
He's a wealthy businessman and devoted family man who just happens to have an addiction to other people's blood. After two years sober, that nagging voice grows more insistent and a couple wind up dead. Brooks swears it's "the last time" but a witness to the slaying refuses to let him walk away. The so-called Mr Smith (Dane Cook) is a common-or-garden weirdo who blackmails Brooks into letting him tag along on his next job. Meanwhile, Detective Atwood (a hard-nosed Demi Moore) has picked up the scent.
"MORBID ATTENTION TO DETAIL"
Schizophrenia, double murder and blackmail are plenty to be dealing with and the weight of this burden is clear in a subtle performance by Costner. Brooks is, of course, a difficult character to like and yet the decision to put his family first and his efforts to quit the habit do resonate. But, Evans annoyingly piles on the subplots, the most redundant involving Brooks' possibly psychotic daughter (Danielle Panabaker) which just stretches credibility, not to mention the running time. Then again, Evans does keep you guessing. Instead of overdoing the gallows humour, he fleshes out a complex character with a morbid attention to detail. He's perhaps guilty of being a little too surgical in the execution, tying all the loose ends in a bow; still, Mr Brooks keeps you in his grip till the bitter end.
Mr Brooks is out in the UK on 12th October 2007.