[[caption-width-right:337:"I don't enjoy killing, Mr. Smith. I do it because I'm ''addicted'' to it. "]]

->''"The hunger has returned to Mr. Brooks' brain. It never really left."''

Earl Brooks (Creator/KevinCostner) is a popular, humble, successful man with a beautiful wife and daughter, a thriving private company and a highly respected record of philanthropy, for which he was recently named the Portland Chamber Of Commerce' "Man of the Year".

He's also one of the most prolific serial killers in American history and no one has ever come close to suspecting him of it.

Brooks is still quite a good man in many ways, and does his best to resist his lethal urges, frequently while being spurred on by "Marshall" (Creator/WilliamHurt), the psychological manifestation of Brooks' dark side whom only he can see. He manages to maintain this life relatively stably for many years until one day, after a relapse that leaves two people dead, Brooks is approached by an obnoxious, abrasive younger man going by "Mr. Smith" (Creator/DaneCook). "Smith" happened to witness Brooks committing the double-murder, photographed it, knows he's the "Thumbprint Killer", and wants to blackmail him. However, not for money. "Smith" got a huge rush out of seeing Brooks' actions.... and wants to be taken along for the ride next time.

An extremely determined detective (Creator/DemiMoore) who has been attempting to solve Brooks' murders for years seems to be getting closer, while going through a messy divorce and tracking another serial killer she previously caught, "the Hangman", who has now escaped. Brooks' family life is also getting more complicated as his daughter has just dropped out of college and moved back home, bringing an unexpected set of new problems with her.

''Mr. Brooks'' is a coolly cerebral thriller filled with style and highly detailed substance, focusing on the skeletons we all have in our closets and what we might do if they ever got out.

!!This film provide examples of:

* AssholeVictim: Several, but likely not all, of Mr. Brooks' victims.
* TheAtoner: Brooks persistently tries.
* BatmanGambit: [[spoiler:A particularly interesting one towards the end, involving "Smith"]].
* BigFancyHouse
* BlackComedy: Never fully, but there are inherent touches of it throughout the film, especially in the Brooks-Marshall-Smith relationship.
* CallingCard: Brooks' victims are typically left in intimate, lifelike poses and a bloody thumbprint from each of them is left on a nearby surface post-mortem, hence him being known to police and the public as the Thumbprint Killer.
* CrazyPrepared: This is how he never gets caught. He stalks his victims, researches them, walks through their house. Finds out their plans, and after he kills them, he leaves no evidence behind:
-->Det. Atwood: "He vacuumed the house, and took the bag."
-->Det. Snyder: "What if he killed somebody that didn't have a vacuum cleaner?"
-->Det. Atwood: "He wouldn't do that."
* CriminalMindGames
* DayDreamSurprise: The ending where Brooks [[spoiler: is killed by his daughter]]
* DeadpanSnarker: Marshall, Brooks' id.
* DoubleConsciousness
* EvilTastesGood: "The hunger"
* FlawExploitation: And "Smith" has so many flaws indeed....
* FreezeFrameBonus: Wanna know Mr. Baffert's first name? Pause the DVD and look closely at [[spoiler: the newspaper blurb about him in the diner scene towards the end]].
* {{Foreshadowing}}: [[spoiler: Subverted and Played straight with the ''same bit of foreshadowing'', as Earl is correct to assume his daughter is a murderer, but the scene where she murders him as well turns out to be AllJustADream]]
* GollumMadeMeDoIt
* HollywoodSilencer: Averted. Brooks distinctive handgun sounds quite realistic.
* IfIWantedYouDead
* ImaginaryFriend: Marshall.
* InTheBlood: [[spoiler: Earl's daughter turns out to have the same urge to kill as he does.]] She's just not nearly as good at it.
* JackTheRipoff: Mr. Brooks goes out his way and commits a very similar murder to the one [[spoiler: his daughter commits]] in order to confuse the authorities.
* KubrickStare: When Brooks puts his BatmanGambit into motion.
* LastNameBasis: "Mr. Smith"/Mr. Baffert is only referred to as such during the film. Towards the end, if you [[FreezeFrameBonus pause the DVD and look at]] [[spoiler: the newspaper in the coffee shop scene, you can see his first name is, amusingly, [[MeaningfulName Graves]].]]
* LivingLieDetector: Brooks, often manifesting through Marshall.
* MrSmith: Played straight with Baffert, alias "Mr. Smith".
* MrViceGuy: Mr. Earl Brooks.
* NonIdleRich: Tracy Atwood inherited millions, but is still devoted to her career as a hard-working homicide detective. Brooks greatly admires this.
* OutWithABang: Brooks often murders couples while they're having sex, or about to.
* ThePerfectCrime
* PsychoticSmirk
* SeenItAll: It becomes increasingly obvious in how he behaves around "Smith" that Brooks has seen an awful lot.
* SelfMadeMan: Earl Brooks founded the highly successful Brooks Boxes, without even going to college.
** "Smith" also has money and a promising career.
* SerialKiller: Several.
* SerialKillerKiller: Subverted in a number of ways.
* SequelHook: The film has them. Also, Costner and the makers talk in the DVD features about the possibility of a "Brooks trilogy".
* SympatheticMurderer: Earl Brooks, heartbreakingly so.
* TalkingToThemself: A particularly notable example.
* ThisIsYourBrainOnEvil: Basically the concept of the film.
* TragicVillain: Brooks vehemently tries to overcome his addiction to murder, with occasional periods of success.
* TropaholicsAnonymous
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee
* VillainProtagonist: Brooks, with traces of AntiVillain.
* VillainsOutShopping
* WellDoneSonGuy: Atwood's father was very disappointed that she was born a girl, and he let her know it, so she has spent her whole life trying to prove him wrong.