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WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Earl Brooks (Costner) is a highly successful, well respected businessman and family man. Like many men in his position, he has a bit of an addiction – but it’s not drink, drugs or gambling. Earl Brooks is addicted to killing.
Realising this probably isn’t such a great idea, he’s desperate to quit, but without a Murderers Anonymous to sign up to, he finds it tough to overcome the urges of his evil alter-ego (Hurt).
When a package turns up at his office, including photos of him in the act, he has no choice but to take a sick stalker (Cook) on a killing mission.
Just to complicate matters, his daughter Jane (Panabaker) has just come home from university, where one of her acquaintances has been murdered.
The last thing Earl needs when he’s trying to shake his addiction is the fear that it might have been passed on in his genes.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

It makes a change to see Mr Good Guy Costner playing a callous, cold-hearted killer – or at least the good half of one. Hurt’s no-nonsense approach to his art usually leaves Mr Brooks with little choice over whether to continue his killing spree.
Torn from two sides – the stalker who wants to learn the tricks of the trade and the daughter who he’s praying hasn’t already learned them – the eponymous protagonist has little hope in being able to quit for now.
Costner does helpless frustration and grim determination as well as you’d expect from an actor of his standing, but once the story gets into its stride, there aren’t as many shocks or surprises as there should be.
Alter-egos are hardly anything new – BBC2’s latest American import Heroes has a very similar good-and-evil pairing in the form of Niki Sanders – but with such strong character actors, this film keeps the trick feeling fresh enough.
Panabaker reprises the role of the irritating, precocious teenaged daughter that many viewers will know from TV’s Shark.
The film doesn’t particularly have a message, other than “murder is bad” and short of one of those twists that makes you feel cheated towards the end, doesn’t provide enough of a roller-coaster ride to be a top-class thriller.
But it’s an entertaining enough pop-corn romp, taking in addiction, violence and parental responsibility – and there aren’t too many films that can boast that!

opens nationwide 12th October 2007

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