Kevin Costner has had an illustrious career in Hollywood. His accolades are a mile long, and those certainly include the majorly successful show, Yellowstone. That show is so popular, in fact, it has already garnered a spin-off series with another one on the way. This is all not to mention he also directed and starred in the critical success, Dances With Wolves. However, one of his best films is one that many might not have taken a chance to see. That film is, Mr. Brooks.
Mr. Brooks follows the life of Earl Brooks, who is a highly successful businessman with a very dark secret. He is a full-fledged serial killer. Brooks must find a way to balance out his family life with his lust for killing random strangers. After he makes an egregious error while killing a random couple, he must entertain the fantastical dreams of a would-be serial killer, played by Dane Cook. Cook plays Mr. Smith, a photographer who catches Mr. Brooks red-handed, literally. Now Brooks must take Smith along with him on his next killing. Kevin Costner even makes Cook’s acting look good.
What makes this film so intriguing is that it couples the already impressive Kevin Costner with the equally as impressive William Hurt, who plays Mr. Brooks’s murderous alter ego, Marshall. The beauty of this is they both work in tandem to bring chilling performances that show the audience the inner dialogue of a serial killer that is dealing with some sort of dual-personality or schizophrenic issues. Marshall is not the voice of reason at all and is often pushing Brooks to continue to kill, even when he is caught in the act. This already impressive cast is rounded out with Demi Moore, who plays the hardened detective out to capture the serial killer (Brooks) she’s been tasked with hunting down.
Without giving too much away, there are a couple of “B” stories, or subplots, in the film that truly makes the stakes so high. Mr. Brooks has to handle taking along the bumbling sidekick that Cook plays, while evading the police, and protecting his family. His daughter gets Brooks into a situation that truly tests his limits as a serial killer. I know how that sounds, but go watch the film to understand that aspect. Even though you are supposed to clearly not agree with Kevin Coster in this film, you end up rooting for him. It’s an odd dynamic to root for a serial killer, but that is what makes this one of his best performances. The acting is fantastic.
Mr. Brooks currently has a 55% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but the audience score of 76% is obviously much higher and for good reason. The fans are clearly more enamored with his performance and can forgive the film’s biggest critique, which critics claim is that there are too many subplots. Sometimes stories can be muddled when there are too many subplots thrown into a single hour and a half venture, but that is not the case for this film. With a reported $20 million budget, the film pulled in $48 million worldwide. Not bad for a more underground Kevin Costner film.
Kevin Costner gets to play a rare villainous role in this film, which even if you root for him, he still does kills people. Clearly, he’s not entirely meant to be celebrated. It’s not typical that he plays any sort of villain role at all, so this film is a treat that lets the man let loose on the ability to appear as more than just the hero who consistently saves the day.
Mr. Brooks is currently streaming for free with ads on Tubi, The Roku Channel, and Pluto TV. The film can be rented on other streaming services like Amazon Prime, Vudu, Apple TV, and Redbox for $3.99. Although the majority of Kevin Costner fans are currently enthralled with his portrayal of John Dutton in Yellowstone, take some time to go experience his superb acting chops as a family man who juggles the life of also being a serial killer. Think of the show Dexter, but with Costner leading the way, and not just killing bad people. He pretty much kills who he wants to.