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Mr. Brooks

20 Jun 2017Film Essays

The movie “Mr. Brooks” is about a serial killer, portrayed by Kevin Costner. It was released last June 1, 2007, which also stars Demi Moore and Dane Cook. It has successfully depicted the life of a serial killer, as well as the detective who pursues him. It was also able to explain the criminal behavior and the reasons why he engaged into these serial killings.

Mr. Brooks is a successful businessman as well as a happy family man. He was named “Man of the Year” by the Portland Chamber of Commerce, and lives with his loving wife and has a college daughter. However, deep inside Mr. Brooks lives a blood-thirsty alter ego named Marshall, which has convinced him to kill just for the thrill of doing so. He has suppressed his urge to kill for two years already, but was once again convinced to kill by his alter ego Marshall.

As a serial killer, Mr. Brooks is very intelligent and is really untraceable. He plans his every move, not leaving any evidence behind. He is aided by is second personality, who seems to be in control whenever he does his killings. He is able to kill for pleasure with the help of his money. He has his own incinerator which he uses to burn all the possible evidences when he kills. He is very relaxed when he kills, which is a sign of a professional killer. There is no room for mistakes for him because he is a well known personality especially in the business world.

He did make a mistake however when he killed a dance couple in their apartment room. A spying neighbor was able to take pictures of Mr. Brooks when he shot the couple because he left the blinds open. This has caused the turn of events for the movie.

In his earlier years as a killer, Mr. Brooks is known as the “Thumbprint Killer,” since he leaves only a thumbprint in the crime scene which is actually not his own thumb mark. His serial killing has actually attracted the attention of the authority. There are a lot of police officers on his trail, including a lady detective portrayed by Demi Moore.

Demi Moore plays the role of Tracy Atwood, a Portland detective on Mr. Brooks trail. She however pinpoints Mr. Smith (the one who catches Mr. Brooks killing the couple) as the “Thumbprint killer.” Because of this, she quickly goes over Mr. Smith’s apartment to find him gone and relocated to another place. This problem with Mr. Brooks was just one of the few things that \is bothering Tracy. She is also worries about a escaped killer who she has sent to jai, and is now out to get her. She also has to take care of his ex husband that wants get a large amount of money from their divorce.

Tracy Atwood is a very dedicated detective, who would do anything just to solve a case. She is not afraid to risk he own life and limb when it comes to her job. She is very intelligent as well as very skilled for a lady detective. She is shown to be successful in catching criminals, just like the one who escaped and is now coming to get her. Despite these, she is not afraid and continues to do what she does best, which is solving crimes. She is revealed to be a very rich woman, who was the sole recipient of her father’s wealth.

Her ex husband decided to take advantage of this and wanted to take a large chunk of money from her. This was thwarted however by Mr. Brooks, who killed his ex husband and his lawyer. This is to keep her off Mr. Brooks’ track, as he deals with his own problems about Mr. Smith.

Mr. Brooks outsmarted detective Atwood by using Mr. Smith to lead her away from him. He was able to keep his identity safe by using other people to attract the attention of the authorities. Everything seemed possible for him, especially with his money and his alter ego, Marshall.

Mr. Brooks seems to show a case of schizophrenia. He has developed this other character within himself. It was Marshall who tells him to kill; it was him that caused his addiction to the thrills of killing. He and Marshall showed different personalities, but were sharing the same body. Mr. Brooks is a self-made man; he is rich and influential, as well as a fulfilled family man. Marshall is different; he was cunning, persistent, and blood thirsty. They both share the intelligence which Mr. Brooks uses to solve or deal with his problems. It is also his main weapon as a killer.

Schizophrenia is defined as a mental illness which is characterized by certain impairments in how a person perceives things, and even how he expresses reality, by developing an alternate personality. This is clearly visible in the case of Mr. Brooks and his alter ego, Marshall. There were some findings relating schizophrenia and crime, wherein there is a higher chance for those diagnosed with this mental disorder to engage in crimes. They have a different perception, as well as a sense of reality, which could influence their view of right and wrong, making them commit these crimes.

Even though Mr. Brooks tries to suppress his urges by regularly attending alcoholics’ anonymous meetings, he still can’t get rid of Marshall as his second personality. He may stop being a serial killer, but he wasn’t able to detach from his alter ego. As a consequence, he may still have the tendency to return to killings.

The movie is a serious psychological film which has successfully shown what goes on in the mind of a serial killer with split personalities. The story focuses on the life of the serial killer and not on the police or the detectives. Because of this, the movie shows a different kind of suspense, not concentrating on the victims or the police officers, but on what goes on in the mind of the serial killer.

In the movie, suspense was created when the character of Mr. Smith was introduced. It just showed that there was a flaw in the Mr. Brooks himself, that’s why somebody was able to get his picture, evidence that could lead to his arrest. The viewers see suspense as it is experienced by the serial killer himself, Mr. Brooks. He seemed to have an unstable personality that’s why the viewers can’t actually predict on what will happen with the story. He is fast to change his mind, like the ones who he decides to kill. He has to think about it carefully, and if he is not satisfied with what he has planned, he will not pursue it.

There came a time when Mr. Brooks decided that he wants to be killed by Mr. Smith himself. This has aroused the displeasure of Marshall, since he wants to go on existing and enjoy the thrills of killing. He understands that if Mr. Brooks dies, he dies along with him. The viewers would then think that Mr. Brooks would actually die because he has already decided that he would die. However, it was a surprise when Mr. Smith’s gun didn’t fire a shot. Mr. Brooks explained that he has intentionally bent the firing pin in Mr. Smith’s gun, in case he decided to change his mind about dying.

Works Cited:

  • ADCOCK, M. (2007) Mr Brooks - review
  • BRITISH COLUMBIA SCHIZOPHRENIA SOCIETY (2001) Basic Facts About Schizophrenia.
  • BURNS, K. S. (2007) Criminal Insanity.
  • GILCHRIST, T. (2007) Mr. Brooks Review: An underwhelming addition to the serial killer canon.
  • JANSSEN PHARMACEUTICA (2007) Treatment options for people with schizophrenia.
  • LINDQVIST, P. & ALLEBECK, P. (1990) Schizophrenia and crime. A longitudinal follow-up of 644 schizophrenics in Stockholm. The British Journal of Psychiatry.
  • MUNKNER, R. (2004) Schizophrenia and crime. Danish Medical Bulletin, Vol. 51.
  • SCHIZPHRENIA.COM (2004) Crime and Schizophrenia.

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