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Mr. Brooks is a 2007 thriller film directed by Bruce A. Evans starring Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, and William Hurt. It was released on June 1, 2007.


Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner) is a wealthy, successful businessman recently honored by the Portland, Oregonmarker, Chamber of Commerce as "Man of the Year." Brooks is also a serial killer, known as the "Thumbprint Killer" by the police. Brooks is encouraged by his id, manifested as an alter ego he refers to as "Marshall" (William Hurt) whom only Brooks can see or hear. Brooks uses Alcoholics Anonymous as a method to control his killing, and as of the beginning of the movie has refrained from murder for two years, but feels the killing urge rising again.

Urged on by Marshall, he kills a couple. As part of his pathology, he leaves each of the victims' bloody thumbprints on a lampshade. Brooks follows his meticulous modus operandi, including fastidious preparation and cleaning up the crime scene before departing. Marshall then notices that the couple's curtains were open.

His daughter Jane (Danielle Panabaker) appears, having dropped out of college. She goes on to visit Brooks at work and mentions that she would like to get a job with his company. The same day “Mr. Smith” (Dane Cook) turns up at Brooks' work and attempts to blackmail him with photographs from the most recent murder. He demands that Brooks take him on a murder, and reluctantly, Brooks agrees.

Mrs. Brooks reveals that Jane dropped out of college because she was pregnant. The Brookses are then visited by detectives from Palo Alto who want to interview Jane about a hatchet murder committed in Jane's former dorm building. Marshall and Brooks realize Jane committed the murder and consider letting her go to jail to "save her" from becoming like them. Brooks later decides to use an alternate identity, fly to Palo Alto, and commit a similar murder to make it look like a serial killer is loose, thereby exonerating Jane.

Brooks decides that he no longer wants to kill. Not wanting to be caught and embarrass his family, Brooks concocts a plan where he will write a note to his family claiming to have an incurable disease, and to spare them the pain, he will leave, never to return.

Brooks researches the background of the police officer chasing the "Thumbprint Killer," Detective Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore), and discovers she is in the middle of a messy divorce from Jesse Vialo (Jason Lewis). Brooks decides that Jesse will be Smith's first "victim." At the scene of the Vialo murder, Smith urinates out of fear, leaving his DNA at the scene for the police to discover later. While driving away from the scene, Smith pulls a gun on Brooks, which Brooks and Marshall had predicted would happen. Brooks explains his plan to Smith, who agrees to kill Brooks. Brooks takes Smith to a cemetery he owns, and explains that they will find an open grave. Smith will shoot Brooks and then cover him with just enough dirt to mask the body. The next day, a casket will be lowered into the grave and covered, and Brooks' body will never be discovered.

Smith attempts to shoot Brooks, but Brooks reveals that, at some point prior, he had broken into Smith's apartment and bent the firing pin on Smith's pistol, rendering it inoperable on the off-chance that Brooks would change his mind. Brooks' brush with death made him realize he wanted to see his grandchild. As Smith desperately tries to make his pistol work, Brooks kills him with a shovel. As Smith lies dying, Brooks reveals that he used many different MOs before becoming the "Thumbprint Killer." With Smith's urine providing the only DNA evidence of the Thumbprint Killer at the murder scene, Brooks remains undetected.

Mr. Smith is named as the Thumbprint Killer and Brooks returns to his normal life. Knowing he is in the clear, Brooks calls Detective Atwood to ask her why she is a police officer. Atwood is unable to trace the call before Brooks hangs up, but she realizes the Thumbprint Killer is still alive. That night Brooks has a nightmare in which Jane kills him, suggesting that he fears Jane will become like him.


  • Kevin Costner as Mr. Earl Brooks, Portland businessman and the Thumbprint Killer. Views his killing as an addiction that he tries throughout the movie to control.
  • William Hurt as Marshall, Mr Brooks' id. He encourages him to kill again after a long hiatus.
  • Dane Cook as Mr. Baffert, an amateur photographer who spots Mr Brooks' crime and uses pictures to blackmail him, calling himself "Mr Smith".
  • Marg Helgenberger as Emma Brooks, Mr Brooks' wife.
  • Danielle Panabaker as Jane Brooks, the Brooks' daughter, who has recently dropped out of college and may have killed a student. It is hinted through the movie that she may have inherited Earl's addiction.
  • Demi Moore as Detective Tracy Atwood, the investigating officer in the Thumbprint Killer case. She is an heiress worth millions. After Baffert becomes the lead suspect of being the Thumbprint Killer, Earl calls her pretending to be Baffert. As "Baffert" he asks Atwood why she became a cop. Atwood tells him she did so to prove her father wrong for wishing she was born a boy. She tells her partner that she knows it wasn't Baffert on the phone.
  • Jason Lewis as Jesse Vialo, Det. Atwood's ex-husband. Completely unfaithful to Atwood, only marrying her for her money and connections.
  • Reiko Aylesworth as Sheila, Vialo's attorney and lover.
  • Matt Schulze as Thornton Meeks, an escaped killer stalking Det. Atwood. After a chance meeting with him, Brooks decides to "give him" to Atwood by arranging a confrontation between the two.
  • Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Hawkins, Atwood's partner.
  • Lindsay Crouse as Captain Lister, Atwood's superior officer.

Possible sequel

On the director's commentary, Bruce Evans said that this was the first of a trilogy, but that any franchise would depend on the film's profits.

Critical reception

The film received mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 56 percent of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 149 reviews — with the consensus being, "The setup is intriguing, but Mr. Brooks overstuffs itself with twists and subplots, becoming more preposterous as it goes along." The performances by both Costner and Hurt were praised. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 45 out of 100, based on 34 reviews.

According to, Mr. Brooks had a domestic box office gross of $28,549,298 and grossed $48,121,900 worldwide.

Blu-ray & DVD release

The film was released on October 23, 2007, on both high-definition Blu-ray Disc and standard-definition DVD.


The film's soundtrack features Ramin Djawadi's score and the song "Vicious Traditions" by The Veils.


  2. The Times film reviews
  3. BBC reviews

External links

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