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Movie Review

Mr. Brooks

MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, some graphic sexual content, nudity and language

Reviewed by: Cathy Faltermayer

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Thriller, Crime, Drama
1 hr. 35 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
June 1, 2007
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

About murder in the Bible


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Featuring: Kevin Costner, William Hurt, Demi Moore

Dane Cook
“Employee of the Month”

Marg Helgenberger
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Director: Bruce Evans
Producer: Thomas Augsberger, Marc Schaberg, Adam Rosenfelt
Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

“The man who has everything has everything to hide.”

“All human beings… are commingled out of good and evil.”
—Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

“Mr. Brooks” has exciting psychological twists, unpredictable story lines and awesome acting. The mannerisms of William Hurt and Kevin Costner resembled each other, at times I cannot tell them apart. Demi Moore does a great job of not over playing her character. Ultimately the acting and plot are not worth the disturbing significance of this movie. Christians and non Christians will be offended by the killings of Mr. Brooks and the likeability of his character.

The main character, Mr. Brooks, is a dual personality serial killer portrayed by Kevin Costner and William Hurt. When Marshall (Hurt’s persona) is controlling the mind, an unsuspecting couple is killed in cold blood as they lie in bed, of course naked. While Mr. Brooks (Costner’s persona) is in control, he attends AA meetings, as a sincere desire to change his behavior by using the 12 steps. In the midst of this conflict are the unsuspecting wife, the daughter, who is cunningly wise to the situation and Mr. Smith.

Mr. Smith’s character (played by Dane Cook) is the embodiment of today’s young generation. He wants to gain knowledge of his fascination quickly, by using Mr. Brooks. The way a teenager uses cheat codes to beat a video game, Mr. Smith wants the quick and easy path to serial killing.

In the center of this plot is Detective Atwood, played by Demi Moore. Detective Atwood is smarter than the average detectives working on the Thumbprint Serial Killer cases. She fascinates Mr. Brooks, by her imperfect search for certainty in her professional and personal life.

Unfortunately, there is too much violence. I am referring to the sensual, methodical foreplay of Mr. Brook’s serial killing. Graphic images of the killing are disturbing, but the psychological aggression leading up to the killing is repulsive. This is the kind of movie that desensitizes society to the evil actions in our society. The audience is forced to see Mr. Brooks/Marshall as the victim. Aside from the violence, profanity and nudity the movie still sends a spine-chilling message. The serial killer, who struggles with family issues and his conscience, is more like you and I.

Bottom line is: I do not want to watch a movie that relays sympathy for a serial killer. We all have evil thoughts, but we also have self control. I would not recommend this movie to anyone, Christians maybe easily offended by the ease at which the murders are planned and committed.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer Comments
Negative—Mr. Brooks: American Psycho and Hannibal Lector Meet Alfred Hitchcock—I was absolutely floored by some of the best writing I have seen in ages. Not since one of the greatest thriller movies of all time, “Dead Again by Kenneth Brannagh,” have I seen such great writing, dialogue, acting and directing brought together in one awesome mystery movie. The violence is not over the edge and everything you might expect to see in a cliché thriller movie is thankfully left out. I was sitting there mind blown but what happened next and thoroughly loved this over the edge sophisticated thriller about a conservative mad man with a passion to kill but a will to resist. This has got to be one of Kevin Costner’s best movie of all time, almost topping his performance in Dances with Doggies. Demi Moore is irresistible as the wealthy detective with a drive to capture the “Thumb Print” Killer. Dane Cool is nothing less than thrilling playing the part of the man who is blackmailing Kevin Costner, and William Hurt is amazing as Kevin Costner’s alter ego.

Mr. Brooks stars Kevin Costner as the ultimate family man who has just won “Man of the Year” in Portland, Oregon. He has a true passion for people and a love for his beautiful wife and daughter. He is relatively conservative and puts his Family above all else. The only problem is that he is an addict. Many people struggle with drinking, drugs and sex, however Mr. Brooks struggles with murder. He has not killed anyone in 2 years, but his alter ego is dying to get out and murder again. He tells his alter ego that he promised himself that he would never do it again and to leave him alone. However, the relationship between his good half and bad half come to a crossroads when he must make the decision whether he will kill again. Well, he does and the movie takes a path that I have never seen before. Showing the true compassion behind a wonderful man with a problem he desperately wants to find a resolution for. He knows that murdering is wrong, but something in him drives him to do so. One day, the curtains are left open and Dan Cook witnesses him murdering a couple across the street. If I told you anything else, I would be ruining the movie, so I will shut up now. But know that this movie will take you around so many corners that it will make your head spin with delight.

There is more subtle humor in this movie that will leave you laughing and speechless by the end of the movie. Not to mention that you are rooting for Costner the whole entire movie. You actually do not want Demi Moore to catch him, but at the same time you really want him to stop killing so that he can go on with his life. The emotional experience that the director and writer use to involve the audience is just brilliant. Everyone left this movie just as blown away as I was, and the other film critics in the theater that I saw, loved the movie.

Special Kudos:
Costner: Back and better than ever!
Demi: Thankfully she was not nude for a change, and she did great job in this movie! …she …proves she can still act.
Dane Cook: Proves he is an actor not just a comedian!
William Hurt: Nothing less than brilliant.

Warning to Parents and Christians:
Violence Factor: There is a lot of killing, but nothing overly graphic until the end. This movie is pretty mild, and although I compare this movie to “American Psycho” and Hannibal Lector, this movie is nowhere near as violent or vulgar.
Sex and Nudity Factor: Lots—There is a fairly long and graphic sex scene complete with nudity which leaves nothing for the imagination. Although I loved this movie, I so wish they would have left this out.
Language: There is not a whole lot of bad language, however it is R-Rated, and they do have their scattering of F-Words.
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—John Kehrli, age 33
Negative—The photography was good, the lighting was fine. The script was not good, and truly this movie was pretty stupid. There was a character named Marshall who was Mr. Brooks imaginary friend, whom Mr. Brooks talked to regularly. Marshal was definitely Mr. Brooks’ evil side, and Marshall would constantly remind Mr. Brooks of how much he enjoyed killing people. Like in the movie, “A Beautiful Mind,” Mr. Brooks could see Marshall and carried on conversations with Marshall about everything.

The movie was offensive and ridiculous. The first couple you see Mr. Brooks kill is having sex on a bed, completely naked, and you see way too much for an “R” rating—most definitely mild pornography. The curtains to the couple’s bedroom happen to be open, and a young man who lived across the street was taking pictures of the couple having sex from his apartment window, when he witnesses Mr. Brooks killing them and photographs Mr Brooks doing the killing. They play the killing over and over, too many times. Turns out the young man is sick in the head as well, and blackmails Mr. Brooks into letting him go along to kill people. The whole time Marshall, Mr. Brooks imaginary friend (whom you can see) is constantly giving his opinions and ideas of what Mr. Brooks should do. ***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Also, Mr. Brooks has a daughter who drops out of college, and she is pregnant. Later you find out that a student at her school has been murdered, where Mr. Brooks and Marshall decide that his daughter has the same problem as he does, killing people. The police come and interrogate Mr. Brooks daughter. Mr. Brooks goes to the college and kills another student the same way the first one was killed so as to take any attention off of his daughter. You do not witness any of this, only his disguise and plane ride going there and him coming home afterwards.

Numerous times during the whole movie, Mr. Brooks is saying the confession that people in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) say—that they are powerless over themselves, and he asks God to help him to overcome his desire to kill; he seemed to be quoting scripture to himself and then asking for forgiveness each time he killed someone and tells himself this is the last killing, but Marshall, his imaginary friend, always chimes in and says, you know you will never stop killing people, you like it too much. Mr. Brooks went to AA meetings “because he had a bad habit.”

I am sure this is what the director was trying to imagine might be in the mind of a serial killer, one that loved his wife and daughter, had a fantastic job, owning his own business, lived in a fancy house, rich, rich, rich, but had this one little problem. He liked to kill people just for the pleasure of it.

Demi Moore was a multi millionaire who became a police officer because her father hated that she wasn’t born a boy, and she wanted to prove to him that she was tough. She played a very rough character who was going through a divorce from her husband, whom (her husband) was trying to get a huge settlement out of her. Her husband and his female lawyer (who were having an affair) were the 2nd couple that were murdered, it was not shown. It was Mr. Brooks and the young man who took pictures of Mr. Brooks killing the first couple who killed the 2nd couple, as Mr. Brooks promised the young man he would let him attend if he didn’t go to the police and turn Mr. Brooks in. Of course, as circumstances went on, Mr. Brooks ends up killing the young man.

In one scene, Demi Moore is in a shoot out in an apartment complex with a murderer she had arrested previously (he had escaped out of prison) and his girlfriend. The gun shots were so loud it was ridiculous. It was a silly scene. She is obsessed with cracking the “thumb print” murder case, (which is what Mr. Brooks murders were labeled at the police department because he would leave a bloody thumb print of the male and female of his victims somewhere in the room that the killing took place.) She never does find out that it is Mr. Brooks.

The movie was stupid to say the least. I guess that the acting was okay, but the Marshall character was more of a nuisance than entertaining. At the very end, Mr. Brooks has a dream that his daughter kills him with a pair of scissors, one time stab in his neck. That is the bloodiest scene in the whole movie, where Kevin Costner literally bleeds to death and it was gross. For a minute you think it is real, but then he wakes up in the bed with his wife comforting him to go back to sleep.

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting with this movie, but what it was, was not what I cared to see. It was almost boring, but mainly stupid. There was some cussing, the terrible sex scene, the whole idea was sick, and I wish I had saved my money. It just wasn’t that entertaining.
My Ratings: Offensive / 2
—Donna M, age 51
Negative—I’m glad to see this site has a place for reviewers to give films a moral rating. To talk only about this movie’s high quality of film-making without mentioning the deep depravity of the characters is like admiring the architecture of a beautiful building but failing to mention that it’s a gas chamber.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 5
—Urquhart Wood, age 50
Negative—My husband and I went to see this movie on a Sunday afternoon, while our kids went to another movie. It is disturbing to say the least. I had a red flag up beforehand, but ignored it and went to see it anyway. Graphic sexuality, morbid, morally bankrupct individuals… I felt oppressed and angry with my choice, after viewing this film.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3½
—Sheila, age 41
Negative—I think a lot of people miss the point of this movie. The offensivness of this film is not found so much in the blood and gore. This movie is a clear story of a man bound by addiction, desiring to be free but unable to do so. In the end after, all his efforts, instead of finding God and freedom, he is left with himself and his sin—a very bad message.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 5
—Stephen, age 21
Negative—I found this movie very disturbing. I was disconcerted with having to consider a serial killer as a normal person with normal thoughts, feelings and fears except for his “addiction” to murder. I thought it was a bit unrealistic because I think someone like that has a vested interest in keeping a fair amount of emotional distance from the world, or at least be consumed by a fair amount of hatred and rage. I was disturbed by the Marshall character. I didn’t think he was an alter ego. He was more of a demonic influence, especially considering the manner in which he’d tempt and then accuse Mr Brooks. Generally, this movie did not go down well with me. I felt the need to pray for the person from whose imagination it came from. I wondered if they experienced any of this sort of spiritual oppression, leading to their conceiving this movie.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 5
—Mwanja Chundu, age 23, South Africa
Negative—I was encouraged to watch this “great” movie by my co-worker. Fifteen minutes into the movie was enough for me. After the first killing scene with the completely nude couple (woman fully naked, of course), I got up and went back to my paperwork. …Shame on you so-called Christians and Jews who sat through this obnoxious film. …Movies like this are what have made us so insensitive to human suffering.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 2
—Heidi Rosen, age 55
Neutral—I wanted to see “Mr. Brooks” because I wanted to see Kevin Costner in this type of role. As an actor myself, I was very interested in seeing “good guy” Costner play a serial killer. I was not disappointed. His acting job was perfection. Flawless. Indeed everyone’s acting was above par. The weakest link was Demi Moore, and even she was good. However, this movie is disturbing. Mr. Brooks is a nice guy with a diabolical problem. He enjoys killing. He goes to AA meetings to try to overcome his “addiction.” He constantly chants the Serenity Prayer and other ritual prayers in hopes of resisting his urges—and his alter ego, whom he has named “Marshall.” (William Hurt—another brilliant performance.) I was offended by the unnecessarily graphic sex scene which was the first killing of the film. It was hard to watch the killings. Even more disturbing was the character of Mr. Smith, who witnessed and photographed the first killing, then blackmailed Brooks into taking him on as a protege.

The movie has very exciting twists and turns that kept me breathless. It was one of the most well-done movies I’ve seen in a long time, but it was also one of the most troubling. One point—as stated before, Brooks constantly “prays” to be released from his obsessions. But, who is he praying to? We have no evidence in this film that Mr. Brooks has ever accepted Jesus Christ. He just prays to the “higher power” espoused in AA philosophy. Consequently, his prayers are futile. The movie did cause me to pray for anyone with addictions or compulsions or obsessions that they desperately want to be set free from.

God through Jesus Christ can set us free—be it a food addiction, sexual additions, drugs—or murderous urges. The movie also dealt with possible “generational sin.” Mr. Brooks' daughter seems to take on the “sins of the father.” This knowledge devestates Brooks, but he handles the situation in the completely wrong way. I am not recommending this film. It is graphic and disturbing. But, there is a much here that a Christian can think about and pray about. Because, unfortunately, in the world in which we live, life often imitates art.
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—L. B., age 51
Positive—This film is violent and twisted and dark. It is the point of the film. It is a man being pulled in two directions and fighting an addiction that both excites and horrifies him at the same time. Many people will will be revolted by this film and in some of the reviews people have actually crticized others for watching the film in it’s entierty but the film is supposed to envoke a reaction from the viewer whatever reaction that may be and it does that and that is what makes it a great film. A person can love this film and still decent person.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Stephanie, age 29
Movie Critics
…Blood/Gore: Extreme… Profanity: Extreme… Sex/Nudity: Extreme…
…a strange and silly drama about a serial murderer and his imaginary friend Marshall…
—Duane Dudek, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
…Abhorrent… …brutally creepy humanism… Very strong implied humanist worldview often makes murder look like fun and suggests appeals to God for deliverance do not work…
…a stylish psychological thriller… Hurt and Costner make a superb team…
—Barry Paris, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
…The uneven film is sometimes electrifying, but with so many different side stories, it’s hard to centralize the key points. …
—Garrett Conti, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
…sly, violent and sometimes darkly funny… Costner… gives one of the best performances of his career…
—Bill Muller, The Arizona Republic