MR. BROOKS (Bruce Evans). 120 minutes. Opens Friday (June 1). Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Amid the booming gunfire, thumping score and basso profundo performance of William Hurt as the devil sitting on a serial killer's shoulder, Kevin Costner is a slice of quiet cool at the chilly core of this psycho thriller.
The once A-list leading man has played it safe for so long - The Guardian, anyone? - you forget how subtly smart an actor he is.
Here Costner subverts his natural cheeseball charm by tapping the same bottled menace he brought to A Perfect World and Open Range. He's the title character, a bespectacled businessman and devoted husband and father who also happens to be a calculating killer who tracks his victims for weeks and then vacuums away any evidence once he's put a bullet through their skull.
Not that Brooks enjoys his homicidal impulses - he considers it an addiction and attends AA meetings to help fight them.
Dane Cook, the stand-up comic and now very unappealing actor, is Brooks's aspiring protege, while Demi Moore is on board as the detective on his trail who also happens to have a revenge-filled escaped con on her tail.
While all of the various plot points, including one about Brooks's pregnant daughter and another involving Moore's money-grubbing ex-husband, dovetail a little too neatly by the end, the result is far more satisfying than you would expect.