Friday, May 25, 2007

Could You Be Mr. Brooks?


Look around, Mr. Brooks are everywhere!

Mr. Brooks would have been a great movie to see with a date. But after viewing the intense drama for an hour and 20 minutes, I might have been paranoid that my charming and intelligent boo would stab me in the neck with a dinner fork on the way home. And all I would have done was ask, "How did you like dessert?" So, maybe it was a good thing I saw it alone. But then again, maybe not because for two days I looked at everyone suspiciously. You just never know with some people!

On the surface, Earl Brooks is a successful businessman, loving husband, and doting father. But hold the phone! Earl also has a dark side, a deadly addiction, that's boosted by his alter-ego, Marshall (William Hurt). Marshall is calculating, selfish, and murderous--literally. While some like the thrill of the hunt, Earl-slash-Marshall likes the thrill of the kill. And so does the sole witness of his recent crime, an amateur photographer (Dane Cook) with too much time on his hands. In a bizarre twist of events, the hunter becomes the hunted and Earl Brooks' two distinct worlds threaten to collide. Add a tough police investigator (Demi Moore) on his trail and a daughter who proves the murder weapon doesn't fall far from the tree, and you have a movie ready for a killing at the box office.

Though I applaud the strong story, the film itself left me feeling a little disturbed. How often does a Mr. Brooks live next door or occupy the cubicle adjacent to yours? The people you see on a daily basis, how well do you really know them? You never know until the evening news.

In this film, Earl has every one fooled including his wife (Marg Helgenberger), his daughter (Danielle Panabaker), and his employees. Even members of his therapy group, have no clue. I'm certain "Hi, My name is Earl, and I'm addicted to killing people" would definitely break up a meeting. And that's what makes this character so interesting. Unlike most stereotypical movie serial killers, Earl desires to quit his habit. He prays, he meditates, feels guilt, and attends group therapy sessions, all in an attempt to keep alter-ego, Marshall, from controlling his life. And for two years he quit, but now he's back to feeding his deadly urges and is in danger of getting caught by police.

Marshall's physical presence in the film is sometimes more distracting than helpful. Although he gives insight into Earl's thinking, Marshall often comes off as his imaginary friend. Even in the presence of other characters, Earl talks to him like he is the third person in the room. And obviously filmmakers want us to believe that other characters don't notice these sometime lengthy exchanges. Marshall's presence also raises the question of whether Earl is schizophrenic. There are obviously two distinct personalities at play, but there are no typical black outs or memory lapses to give credibility to the notion. No, Mr. Brooks is not mentally ill, but mentally disturbed. Then again, are they one in the same?

To get more info about the film visit Mr. Brooks official website.

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