Saturday, June 16, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: That nice "Mr. Brooks."

The scariest thing about the new Kevin Costner film isn’t that Demi Moore looks like a wax mannequin, or that there are more plots in this movie than can be found in a veteran’s cemetery, or that a number of well known actors are so desperate for work that they agreed to be in this ridiculous piece of crap. What is really frightening is that I, a criminal profiler, apparently had no clue that serial killers could be such totally wonderful human beings (minus the killing stuff). It seems that Mr. Brooks doesn’t have a psychopathic bone in his body, just a little glitch in his brain chemistry that suddenly makes him need to do a thrill kill, a glitch of biology that he has sadly passed down to his daughter who also interrupts who her fine behavior with a violent hatchet slaying.

Mr. Brooks, as far as I can see, is able to work hard and achieve long term goals, marry and be faithful to an intelligent woman, raise and adore his daughter and be willing to do anything for her (yeah, like kill another person in her college town while she is home to get the police off her trail), enjoy a hobby with a high level of expertise, show depth of emotion, be forthright and honest (except about the killing), and truly feel remorse about being a killer (but oddly never about the victims – wait, that might be an odd bit of psychopathy).

Oh, Mr. Script-hack, please call me next time you write a serial killer movie for a bit of consulting! Serial homicide isn’t in the genes; you don’t inherit it. Psychopaths become that way through early childhood problems coupled with a personality type. And they don’t grow up to be fine members of society without a trace of creepiness. All the serial killers I have met or studied show every psychopathic trait without exception. They are all pathological liars, manipulators, have flat affect and have shallow emotions, lack empathy, have grandiose thinking, are narcissistic, and refuse to accept responsibility for their actions, etc. Few serial killers accomplish much in their lives either, outside of racking up murders.

Actually, we can be thankful that this movie is full of hooey. If serial killers were really like Mr. Brooks, we would have zero warning signs to go on and we wouldn’t be able to trust anyone out there. While people often say after a serial killer is arrested, “He seemed like a nice man,” or “I can’t believe he would do something like this,” the serial killer has always shown psychopathic behaviors that a good many people recognized and preferred not to be around.

I think the most upsetting thing about this movie (besides the fact I tossed $8.50 to see it) is that we are actually supposed to like the serial killer. We feel sorry for Mr. Brooks and hope he feels better soon. Never mind those pesky victims that he so cold-bloodily shot. We didn’t like them nearly as much as we like him. How sad is that…..

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown


Ronni said...

I realize that fiction is fiction, and movie depictions of all sorts are generally far from accurate. Take witches, for example. I'm sure I don't need to explain further.

I think the writers were just taking that "I never would have guessed" thing a step beyond, and creating a character that people truly would never have guessed.

Brad Crawford said...

I loved the post you have here, and not specifically for the viewpoint you give, but for the viewpoint I gain.
What I mean is, you are a criminal profiler. That's what you do, that is your job. To watch this movie in the mindset of a criminal profiler then I am sure that it would be hard to watch with out standing up in a theater screaming "Oh COME ON".
But, being that I am an aspiring writer and director I love it, it's a great movie with the interesting concept of his urge to take a human manifestation so that he is NEVER alone.
And while anyone with modern day common knowledge would acknowledge the folly in his daughter's "inherited" urge, as a story teller its great. It introduces a new evil into the world, a deeper darkness man hasn't faced before . . . the hereditary result of evil.
Now, one thing I ponder, and as sure as you are the man to ask then I shall ask ... what makes this different from Hannibal Lector? I don't know if you agree with his character as a killer goes, profile wise of course, but from what I have read and heard he is very similar in the way that he doesn't adhere to the profiling of any one type of killer. And yet still, if this is true, it evades me why he is praised as the ultimate great white shark of cinematic killers when Mr. Brooks gets killed himself by the critics.
In any case, loved the blog, its a fun read, and I'm sure Mr. Brooks would appreciate the attention (or not, hahaha).

Pat Brown said...

Brad, Hannibal Lector is not accurate either (far too brilliant) but at least he isn't very likable. If you want a great portrayal of a serial killer I suggest "Eye for an Eye' with Sally Field. Kiefer Sutherland plays the serial killer and it is true to life and he nails the role. This is a rare film that they actually got it right.