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Overall Rating

Awesome: 3.77%
Worth A Look: 11.32%
Average: 22.64%
Pretty Bad: 15.09%
Total Crap47.17%

3 reviews, 35 user ratings

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Murder by Numbers
[] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"Let's all just give up on Sandra Bullock now."
3 stars

There are two movies going on in "Murder by Numbers." One is a fairly interesting thriller about two bored, privileged teens who plan a perfect murder because they have nothing else to do. The other is a generic crime flick about a police detective battling personal demons. In the end, the two films devour each other, and we are left with bland leftovers. It's not pretty.

The teens are Justin Pendleton (Michael Pitt) and Richard Haywood (Ryan Gosling). Justin is quiet and forlorn and looks like he could be Leonardo DiCaprio's younger sister. Richard is a major player at their northern California high school. Together, they have an ambiguous, secretive friendship, and with Justin's brains and Richard's looks, they add up to one Talented Mr. Ripley.

Through careful planning and manipulating, they commit a crime. Called upon to solve it is the protagonist in the second movie I referred to, one Cassie Mayweather (Sandra Bullock). She has a nickname -- "The Hyena" -- as well as a blustery boss, a loose-cannon reputation and a cloudy past. Just a few weeks ago, the cop parody "Showtime" joked that police detectives in movies always live someplace strange, like a houseboat. Cassie Mayweather lives in a houseboat. In other word, she is a factory-direct, fresh-off-the-line Movie Cop. (There's even a scene where she lusts after Krispy Kreme Donuts.)

Cassie suffered some kind of trauma a while back, and now she dominates the men she works with -- including when she's seducing them, which she very quickly does to her partner, Sam (Ben Chaplin). Meanwhile, they investigate the murder and are puzzled by the apparent lack of clues.

Sandra Bullock has made a career out of making bad career choices. Look at her resume of bad movies: "Speed 2," "Hope Floats," "Gun Shy," "Two If by Sea," "28 Days." Then there are the mediocre films: "Miss Congeniality," "The Net." Then there are the good ones: "Speed" and "A Time to Kill." And those were in 1994 and 1996, respectively. The woman has clearly lost her mind, to keep appearing in moronic fare like "Murder by Numbers," in which she plays the sort of tough-as-nails lady cop we like but are tired of seeing.

Ryan Gosling is a talented young actor, as demonstrated in last year's Sundance success "The Believer." His whining, mumbly delivery makes him look innocent when he's guilty. Michael Pitt isn't bad, either, as his partner in crime.

We know up front that Justin and Richard committed the murder; where, then, is the suspense? The psychological aspects of wealthy teens who turn to murder because they have nothing else to do are intriguing, but the film barely mentions them. It belongs to the genre of movies like "The Skulls" and "The In Crowd" -- ridiculous trifles about murderous teens that are enjoyable to watch because they make so little sense and take themselves so seriously. But "Murder by Numbers" has delusions of grandeur. It thinks it is original and incisive, when really it's the same warmed-over movie-of-the-week stuff we've been enduring for years.

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originally posted: 04/20/02 03:18:58
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User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell entertaing good acting 4 stars
12/03/09 Jeff Wilder Weak. Rent Copycat instead. 2 stars
1/26/08 Pamela White I hate a movie when you know who dun it from the beginning 3 stars
8/05/07 ravenmad choppy, didn't make sense, and half the time I'm like, "heh?". 2 stars
6/16/06 Michele clever enough 4 stars
8/16/05 ES hollywood 'the bad guys gotta pay' ending ruins a decent movie 3 stars
10/01/04 Cannabinoid fallopian tube Only good thing was Gosling 2 stars
6/13/04 Arun I had high hopes when i bought the cd but its the worst mystery movie i have ever seen 1 stars
5/01/04 Adam Disapointing, weak ending, all in all pretty crap 2 stars
4/17/04 BaztarD_101 I thought this would be like an intelectual Thriller which adds to its equation... Oh well! 2 stars
4/05/04 theHiv super 5 stars
3/15/04 Phil M. Aficiando Stupid 1 stars
2/05/04 LIAM JACKSON i felt kinda sorry for justin.he should of just killed EVERYBODY. 4 stars
1/13/04 Helius *gags* 1 stars
7/17/03 jeoff that movie was pimp because parts of it was filmed in morro bay and thats where my grandmaw 5 stars
7/08/03 Pam I really enjoyed this movie. It kept yr interest all the way to the end. 4 stars
7/02/03 JonBenet Ramsey's Ghost She's been getting that way for a long time-Sandra Bullock now as annoying as pop-up ads. 1 stars
4/22/03 Jim The kids look like the wandered in from "To Die For" and Ben Chaplin just looks confused 3 stars
4/13/03 Harry Nilsson This is the saddest experience you will ever know. 1 stars
3/08/03 Robyn Jamil-Walid Sandra Bullock plays psycho cop portrayed heroically. She really thinks her shit dont stink 1 stars
3/01/03 Janet Predictable with no real surprises... but keeps your interest till the end 3 stars
1/28/03 Jon C. Ericson By the numbers is right. 4 stars
1/15/03 John Bale Unpleasant teenage thrill killings solved by sexy cop, with unlikely "cliffhanger" ending 3 stars
11/24/02 Blubberbot Terrible 1 stars
11/10/02 sandra bullock's other twin man she keeps making me look bad 1 stars
11/06/02 JonBenet Ramsey's Ghost She's been getting that way for a long time-Sandra Bullock now as annoying as pop-up ads. 1 stars
10/14/02 seldom scene Billock(cop) tells the bad guy to drop the gun but NOT to slide it over to her-weak movie 2 stars
9/06/02 Robyn Jamil-Walid Sandra Bullock plays psycho cop portrayed heroically. She really thinks her shit dont stink 1 stars
7/08/02 Roy Smith The "brilliant/evil" killers were dull, Sandra didn't fit, simple script, blah. 3 stars
7/06/02 Actress known as Charlize Theron, Ashley Judd, and Angelina Jolie At least no one has ever said I'm the same actress as Sandra Bulock! 1 stars
6/27/02 Jenny Tullwartz Worst pseudo-mystery with cheap twist ending since PRIMAL FEAR. 1 stars
5/25/02 Suzz Surprisingly entertaining due to the story between the 2 killers. 4 stars
4/22/02 Greg Nixon Pretty predictable plot, nothing new, Alfred Hitchcock rip-ff ending 2 stars
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  19-Apr-2002 (R)



Directed by
  Barbet Schroeder

Written by
  Tony Gayton

  Sandra Bullock
  Ryan Gosling
  Michael Pitt
  Ben Chaplin
  Agnes Bruckner
  R.D. Call

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