Mr Brooks (18)

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The Independent Culture

There's something a little nuts about this. The idea of Kevin Costner as a suburban alpha male secretly addicted to murder with William Hurt as his enabling alter ego is strange enough, but how about Demi Moore as a millionaire cop dealing with an expensive divorce and an escaped killer on the revenge trail? Yet against the odds director Bruce Evans and his co-writer Raynold Gideon make something compelling of this Jekyll-and-Hyde scenario, not as a great suspense thriller but as a freakish essay in derangement: Mr Brooks is the killer from nowhere, choosing his victims at random and leaving no clues, and Costner plays him with the right brittle suavity.

His double-act with Hurt is a wicked pleasure, like The Odd Couple with a psychopathic twist. (Like Felix, Mr Brooks has a cleanliness fetish). Dane Cook as a fledgling murder addict is also good value. Whenever the film begins to feel obvious it suddenly contrives to go somewhere you didn't quite expect. The subplot, about Brooks fearing that his college-dropout daughter has inherited his "problem", isn't very convincing, and the ending is pure fudge, but full marks to Evans and Gideon for offering something different from the norm.

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