Kevin Costner has made a career of playing the good guy. In Mr. Brooks, he trades the twinkle in his eye for a little madness, playing a well-liked businessman who, on his free time hunts down and kills unsuspecting couples. Costner’s role here is complex, as he tries to balance his public life and family with the relationship he has with his alter ego, Marshall (played by William Hurt), who pokes and prods until Earl finally gives in to a little extracurricular outing. He is extremely well-prepared, but this time he slips up—he inadvertently leaves the drapes open, and a nutsy voyeur known only as Mr. Smith (Dane Cook) finds himself in a position to blackmail Earl into showing him his craft. Det. Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore), has been following the Thumbprint Killer, and has a hunch about his slip-up.
The complexity here is just right: There are a number of plotlines that intertwine and eventually come together to make sense in the end, and while the story moves along a little slowly, director Bruce A. Evans makes every frame count.