Mr. Brooks (2007)
Mr. Brooks proceeds as a happy-go-lucky film full of energy, with ostensibly random explanations and conceptual systems. It's like a campy runaway TV-series or B-movie that just happens to be populated with a marvellous set of characters and handled with singular confidence by a director who one really shouldn't expect such confidence from. With that said, there were similar elements in Bruce A. Evans only other film as a director, the 15 year old Kuffs: viewer-friendly off-hand qualities that both make Mr. Brooks hard to resist as well as give it an immediate freshness that a lot of films in this and other genres tend to lack after years of recycling ideas.
Kevin Costner is the brilliant murder addict Mr. Earl Brooks. He is an emotional and loving husband and father, not a psychopath at any range, but he always has his imaginary friend/alter-ego, Marshall (William Hurt) with him. Earl is the rational, balanced one, Marshall is his primal, emotive counterpart – it is he who has the lust and the blood-thirst, but it is also he who exhibits the joie de vivre. A resonant comment about western civilization's constrained suburban living. Along the way Mr. Brooks must deal with a caring wife, a volatile daughter, a no-nonsense detective trailing him, and a peculiar hobby photographer that seems to suddenly have the upper hand on him.
The brilliance of Mr. Brooks isn't psychological accuracy or groundbreaking thematics, but rather its fresh tone and rhythm. It is one of those films that seems to always be one step ahead – probably because it is stepping in so many different directions at once. The film combines the conventional and trite with the thoroughly unpredictable in delicate fashion. The biggest of many treats is the interaction between Earl and Marshall – one of the most beautiful and original movie friendships I have seen in a while. It's a clever move by Evans to portray their relationship as if it were the most natural one in the world – without explanations or questioning, because that is arguably the way someone who has been living with a guy like this inside his head for an entire lifetime will perceive it. Their complementary and involuntary relationship has a great deal of romance in it too. It is great to see Kevin Costner as loose and comfortable as he is here. And William Hurt is an absolute delight as Marshall – the guy we all would want to be every once in a while.