Musings about “Mr. Brooks”

-by Alex

Mr. Brooks is a movie about a man who obviously has some sort of psychological disorder, but it is not clear exactly what it is. This movie shows how Hollywood takes advantage of the public’s ignorance about psychological disorders in order to make a movie.  Mr. Brooks seems to display symptoms from three psychological disorders: Dissociate Identity Disorder, Schizophrenia, and Antisocial Personality Disorder, but it is not too conclusive which disorder he has.

First, the movie is about a wealthy business man who is haunted by his alter-ego or evil imaginary friend, Marshall (the movie is not entirely clear which it is).  His “friend” encourages him to kill, seemingly random people, for fun. One night, Mr. Brooks obeys his killer impulses, and murders a couple.  However, he is caught killing the couple on film by somebody, and the rest of the movie is devoted to Mr. Brook struggling with this disorder and trying to best deal with the man who had caught him on film.

One can make an argument that Mr. Brooks suffers from Dissociate Identity Disorder.  There is an argument that Mr. Brooks seems to have split personalities: the compassionate man who is a loving father, a generous philanthropist, and hard-working businessman and on the flip side, the cold-hearted, meticulous serial killer who randomly chooses people who he would “enjoy” killing and then after killing them, arranges the bodies in some artistic fashion.  However, the problem is that, unlike most people with DID, Mr. Brooks has complete recollection of the things that he does, and at times he is able to control his other half, able to suppress it and not obey it. Most people with DID do not remember when their alter personality takes control and what their other identity does and rarely, if ever, are they able to control that personality.  For that reason, it seems doubtful that Mr. Brooks suffers from Dissociate Identity Disorder.

Another disorder that Mr. Brooks may have is Antisocial Personality Disorder, yet ultimately, this is unsatisfactory as well.  Mr. Brooks in his altered persona show absolutely no remorse for killing people.  In fact, he seems to get a high from murder.  He has no trouble lying and he mocks his victims as they scream in fear.  However, the problem is that he is only like this in his altered personality.  In his normal persona, Mr. Brooks struggles with the guilt of killing all his victims.  He has a understanding of what is good and what is bad, and he understands that what Marshall tells him to do is morally bad and that he should be punished for his crimes.  Because of this, I would say that Mr. Brooks does not have Antisocial Personality Disorder, since his behavior is not always consistent with people who have Antisocial Personality Disorder who have complete disregard for the rights of others.  Because he shows compassion at times and does show remorse and guilt after his murders, behaviors that people with Antisocial Personality Disorder do not have, I do not think that Mr. Brooks has this disorder.

If any disorder, I would argue that Mr. Brooks has Schizophrenia, but this is inconsistent as well.  Mr. Brooks can talk with Marshall and he knows that nobody can hear and see Marshall.  It is clear that Marshall is some created delusion by Mr. Brooks, and having hallucinations and delusions is a characteristic symptom of people with Schizophrenia.  However, he is missing some of the other symptoms of Schizophrenics.  People with Schizophrenia usually have disorganized thinking, decrease emotional expressions, depression, and inconsistent thoughts and actions.  However, Mr. Brooks is missing all of those.  He carefully plans his murders and meticulously carries them out so that no trace is left, thus showing that he does not have unorganized thinking.  Mr. Brooks also has a full display of emotions.  He feels fear, guilt, happiness, and sadness, meaning that it is unlikely that he is depressed or has decreased emotional response.

All in all, Hollywood seemed to hand-pick some of the symptoms of psychological disorders, but this hodgepodge of symptoms does not point to what disorder Mr. Brooks has.  Mr. Brooks psychological disorder is simply a plot device used to drive the story forward and create his character, and it is not an accurate representation of any psychological disorder.


~ by psychology2 on April 27, 2010.

One Response to “Musings about “Mr. Brooks””

  1. Disorganized behavior and thinking is not associated with paranoid schizophrenia, which is the subtype with auditory and visual hallucinations as well delusions usually of grandeur or persecution. diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia is conditional on the absence of disorganized symptoms. Thus schizophrenia is the most likely condition.

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