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Murder By Numbers

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Murder By Numbers

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Gosling
Director: Barbet Schroeder
Rated: R
RunTime: 125 Minutes
Release Date: April 2002
Genre: Suspense

*Also starring: Michael Pitt, Chris Penn, Ben Chaplin

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

MURDER BY NUMBERS is a picture by numbers. Director Barbet Schroeder (REVERSAL OF FORTUNE) connects each of the story's obvious dots with extra slowness, lest we miss guessing any of the turns. The script by Tony Gayton (THE SALTON SEA) features all of the crime thriller clichés from the cop who risks her life by not waiting for backup to the ending fight set high up in a dangerous place.

Yes, we've seen this all before, but Sandra Bullock's smart performance as Cassie Mayweather, a super detective with a troubling past, does at least provide one reason to see the movie. Her wonderfully likable acting isn't by the numbers. Playing a cop whose M.O. includes seducing her partner, Bullock reminds us again how alluring she can be with nothing more suggestive than a little foot action. As her partner Sam Kennedy, Ben Chaplin is the happy receiver of Bullock's frisky foot.

The plot concerns Richard Haywood (Ryan Gosling) and Justin Pendleton (Michael Pitt), two rich and bored high school students who decide to pass the time by murdering a random victim and then framing someone else for the killing. Although these two brainiacs figure that they'll never get caught, they don't count on someone of Cassie's intelligence and diligence being on the case.

Although you admire the plot on an intellectual level, the movie's tension is so slack as to make sporadic sleep possible without missing much. But, if you feel like a mediocre movie, this is the one to choose. At least it has Sandra Bullock.

MURDER BY NUMBERS runs too long at 2:01. It is rated R for "violence, language, a sex scene and brief drug use" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes

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