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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

A Secret Life

Mr. Brooks on IMDb

Plot Overview

Rich man Gerald Atwood wanted a boy but got a girl. His daughter Tracy (Demi Moore) was favored with good looks, received a multi-million dollar endowment, and acquired a first rate education. So what does she do? She becomes a cop. Gotta prove some­thing to her old man. She rises to the level of special detective and puts a lot of bad men away. One of them Thornton Meeks (Matt Schulze) is a “steroid freak” who escapes and comes after her, but he's only able to fight her to a draw. Awesome! She is saddled with a (black) partner Hawkins (Ruben Santiago-Hudson) who's a dandy with his head gear, pussy-whipped at home, and non-con­fron­tational on the streets. He lacks the strength & dexterity to cuff a small suspect. Pathetic.

At the tender age of twelve, Earl Brooks latched onto a character in a book of children's dreams who becomes his murderous muse along the lines of an Allen Eskens novel:

One more swing of the ax handle is all I need. My fingers tighten around my weapon.

It's then that I hear the whisper of her words, faint, mixing with the breeze that's whistling through the nettle. She's speaking with that same tsk of disap­point­ment that she some­times used when I was a child. Is this what you've become, Max Rupert? Nancy asks. Is this who you are?

I loosen my grip on the ax handle. I hadn't thought of Nancy in years, and now when I need her least, the goblins of my subconscious find it necessary to summon her memory from the dust. (8–9)

photographerMr. Brooks's subconscious goblins go by the name of Marshall (William Hurt) and while Marshall discourages him from gratuitous killing, he eggs him on to do it for fun. Mr. Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner) is addicted to killing to the point of attending AA meetings to rein it in and doing community service to atone for it. He is on the radar of Det. Atwood and in the rear window photos of peeping Tom Mr. Smith (Dane Cook) who inveigles himself into becoming Earl's partner in crime.

Atwood's gold-digger–about-to-be–ex-husband Jesse Vialo (Jason Lewis) is interfering with Atwood's police work to the point of getting her consigned to desk work until the divorce case is over. Brooks needs a new victim to satisfy his “numb-nuts” partner, and now the cop's ex is in his sights. He might also want to kill a class­mate of his collegiate daughter Jane (Danielle Panabaker) to throw the cops off her scent. She might have her father's “disease” but she doesn't have his smarts. And Marshall has his own opinions on these “wonderfully twisted” turns of events.


Atwood made Vialo an initial offer of $700 K, which he didn't deserve. His lawyer countered by subpoenaing Atwood's work schedule. Atwood's boss can't allow her record of investigations to go public in court, so she has her consigned to desk duty. That doesn't sit well with Atwood, so she bites the bullet and offers her ex $1.5 million. Her lawyer calls back with their counter offer and asks her to sit down. This is going to be good, as in a John Marrs novel:

“You know I hate surprises.”

“Most women love them.”

“Most women aren't police officers, and in my job, surprises are rarely a good thing.” (21)

She's going to have to pay through the nose if she wants to get off that desk any­time soon. This is as Solomon wrote, (Prov. 13:8) “The ransom of a man's life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.”

College News

Freshman college student Jane is in a different position being in abject poverty aside from her parents' support. They can't tell her a thing. She drops out of school against their advice. It's her body, her choice whether to get an abortion. She wants to live at home with­out paying for food or rent, but she doesn't want a curfew. As for what happened to her BMW, she tells her parents one thing and the cops another, who showed up at their door to question her about a class­mate who was murdered. She failed to mention that to her folks. Earl has his own suspicions … and solution.

Production Values

” (2007) was directed by Bruce A. Evans. It was written by Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon. It stars Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, and William Hurt. The acting was a mixed bag. Costner & Hurt were at their peak. Demi Moore was adequate. Marg Helgen­berger was window dressing as Brooks's wife. Dane Cook came across perfectly as just the kind of muse you don't want stuck in your head.

MPAA rated it R for strong bloody violence, some graphic sexual content, nudity and language. It was filmed in Shreve­port, Louisiana, USA, but the plot was set in (rainy) Portland, Oregon. The characters were too smartly attired for the laid back west coast. The city seemed overly bounded by water­ways. [I live in Oregon.] But Oregon license plates do have a tree in the center as depicted. The music was tailored to the plot. The settings seemed close as befits the confining, situational plot.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

The script was masterfully written and the actors stuck to it. It will be most appreciated by viewers who pay attention to details—or you can watch it a second time. This one can do a psycho­logical number on you. The female detective by trying too hard to be a man fails in her love life. The serial killer works real hard at redemption but every slip is a doozy. The college girl is a cipher, and the working partners are a joke. The wife doesn't really under­stand her man for his dark under­currents. The detective doesn't under­stand men except for her over­bearing dad. This twisted tale is bound to please some­one. I loved it but a really straight-laced audience might not handle it so well. To each his own.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quotation from the Authorized King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Eskens, Allen. The Deep Dark Descending. Copyright © 2017 by Allen Eskens. Amherst: Seventh Street Books®, 2017. Print.

Marrs, John. The Passengers. Copyright © 2019 by John Marrs. New York: Berkley, 2019. Print.