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4.1 out of 5 stars48
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 28 January 2003
this is an interesting side-step for sandra bullock (one that i wish the insipid julia roberts would take some times). this is darker than average and raises questions about the nature of evil and guilt. while it isn't exactly suspenseful, it does manage to retain your interest for most of its running time. the cast are terrific - ryan gosling is a particular stand-out. bullock is good but she's saddled with a muddled character who's motivation doesn't ring true.
the ending is weak too - going against the thoughtful approach adopted throughout the film and relying on an action set-piece that isn't worked for.
i liked this film though and i would watch it again. it tries a little harder to be different and intelligent and for this it deserves praise.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 23 December 2007
Sandra Bullock stars as Cassie Mayweather, a tough police detective who's investigating a murder with the help of her new partner (Ben Chaplin). There are a lot of clues that just don't add up, until Cassie begins to suspect two smart, rich, and very arrogant high school students (Ryan Gosling and Michael Pitt).

Actually, we know who did it from the first moments of the film; the fun lies in seeing how Cassie will connect the dots and catch them. This is terrific movie, full of suspense and action. Bullock's character wears a mask of bravado but is really quite wounded from a tragic incident in her past; this makes her vulnerable and very likeable, and she has great screen presence. Chaplin holds his own with her, mixing detective work with inevitable romance, and Gosling and Pitt are outstanding as the creepy teens who think they've committed the perfect crime. We've seen this same basic plot before in "Rope" and "Compulsion," and it's just as good here; a cat a mouse game that's intelligent and scary and kept me on the edge of my seat. Heartily recommended for fans of crime stories and of the talented Ms Bullock.
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A modern spin on the Leopold and Loeb case, directed by Barbet Schroeder and starring Sandra Bullock as a cop with emotional baggage trying to prove that two high school kids (Ryan Gosling and Michael Pitt) have committed what they think is the perfect murder - just for kicks, allegedly.

There's nothing exactly awful about the film, it's well performed by the principal players, engrossing in narrative, beautifully lensed by Luciano Tovoli and Schroeder layers the production with a suitable feeling of unease. Sadly there's no psychological depth given the two boys by writer Tony Gayton, which renders the whole motives and means, and the investigation of such, as being a shallow exercise in thriller film making.

Running at two hours in length doesn't help matters, because this further irritates that more meat was not written onto Gosling and Pitt's bones, while it also exposes just how hackneyed and clichéd the picture is. Which when the story should be psychologically profound, marks this out as a frustrating viewing experience. 6/10
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on 8 December 2003
It's hard what to say about this film. It is good to watch, although you would not watch it over and over again. It's interesting and the performances are pretty good. However, there is something missing. You have Sandra Bullock and the lovely Ben Chaplin but it does not totally work. Perhaps it is due to the script or the direction but you are left feeling it could have been better. Having said that, i quite liked it, but i wished if our dear Ben was to crack America it would be with something more substantial. Bascically, give it a look. You might like it and by no means is it bad.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 October 2013
`Murder by Numbers' is a pretty run-of-the-mill sort of thriller: two spoilt, rich teenagers decide to commit a murder and see if they're smarter than the cops. Unfortunately for them, the `cops' are Sandra Bullock and Ben Chaplin - and these two just won't let go.

So it's a cat and mouse sort of game between the two pairs. Like I say, it doesn't sound like anything that special... and it's not. However, the film is raised above average by the stars. Sandra Bullock acts out of her `kookie-comedy' kind of comfort zone. You may expect her to fall over or hit her head on a frying pan, but she never does - she plays it straight all the way through. Plus the two kids are kind of creepy and you will be rooting for Sandra and Ben to bring them to justice.

And that's about it. If you like either Sandra Bullock or a better-than-average cops hunting killers kind of film, you should like this - at least enough to give you a couple of hours entertainment.

A generous 4/5 stars (probably more a 3.5).
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on 30 August 2015
A good thriller where truth is a hard path to go, full of twists and with a pending sense of danger. The director is very versatile and often switched between mainstream films and more personal stuff. This belongs to the first category and, although he tries sometimes to insert some uncommon and unexpected element, it is not totally convincing.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 May 2013
Pitt and Gosling shine as two murdering kids who stage crime scenes in order to complete the perfect murder. Sandra Bullock is the lead detective who engages them in a battle of wits. Bullock delivers an assured and restrained performance far removed from her comedic forays; her character is a complex mix of outward confidence and inner frailty which might come across as confused but I found it spot on, once the layers of her past began to reveal themselves. Ben Chaplin compliments the piece as her new partner and the two display plenty of chemistry. The story isn't massively involving, we know who the killers are so there isn't a big reveal, but the performances were enough to hold my interest until the suspenseful and action driven finale at a cliff top shack.
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on 21 June 2015
MURDER MOST FOUL (as Miss Marples might say). A female cop, still traumatised by something which happened in her past, investigates two clever students who think they have committed the perfect crime. An intriguing thriller to visit once again (I had forgotton the twist near the end) and a story COLUMBO would have loved to tackle.
Sandra Bullock is exceptionally good BUT, the acting honours MUST go to RYAN GOSLING, only about 20 years old at the time yet his mature natural performance is incredible. He dominates every scene totally convincingly like some young Brando. An amazing performance beyond his years.
A clever thriller at a bargain price - well worth a second look. KAN
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on 10 October 2008
Murder By Numbers is an entertaining thriller, it isn't particularly great but it if you want a crime movie that has little action but a lot of thought then this is a good choice, but sometimes the viewer does feel that it tries too hard.
Ryan Gosling & Michael Pitt are both very promising as the two murderous teens. Like other reviewers I agree whole heartedly that the film could have been a whole lot better. It definitely isn't groundbreaking!
The ending was particularly disappointing, very unplausable & surreal.
In conclusion a decent film, I wouldn't go as low to say its merely watchable, its good but not good enough for me to recommend anyone to invest in it, wait util it comes on t.v (it is shown on t.v quiet often actually) & watch it then.
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If you have a teenager, especially if it's a boy, maybe you should take a moment and check to see what the little hooligan is up to. That's the lesson of MURDER BY NUMBERS.
Homicide Detective Cassie Mayweather (Sandra Bullock) is investigating the murder of a young woman whose body was found in the woods replete with tantalizing clues: yellow carpet fibers, the hair of a baboon, and a dollop of vomit. And then there's the victim's one finger that's missing - severed, apparently. Almost from the first, the audience knows that the perps are Richard (Ryan Gosling) and Justin (Michael Pitt), two creepy, clever, and bored teenaged boys (See? What did I tell ya!) with way too much time on their hands and too little parental oversight. Most males their age, with hormones sloshing over, just want to score with the babes. These two would rather commit the perfect murder because ... Well, just because, that's all.
To me, MURDER BY NUMBERS has the tempo and feel of a made-for-TV movie. Perhaps it's too contrived. (Ok, ok. Most big screen thriller plots ARE contrived. But this one suggests some rookie screenwriter tried too hard.) Richard and Justin are obviously two sick puppies, and that's cool. But then we have Cassie. Sandra Bullock usually plays a character that a fella would love to take to the prom and then home to visit Mom for milk and warm cookies. Maybe you'd still like to take Cassie home, but Mom had better be a head doctor. Mayweather is hauling some heavy psychological baggage - something to do with the scars just peeking over the top of her top. Cassie has been seeing the police shrink, and it was hard for me to imagine any law enforcement agency entrusting such a maimed personality with a gun and handcuffs. Moreover, her new partner, Det. Sam Kennedy (Ben Chaplin) is so bland as to be just short of invisible as an interesting character. And I was never convinced that Richard and Justin posed any sort of threat to Cassie personally, so tension was lacking. Yawn.
I'm giving MURDER BY NUMBERS three stars solely for the reason that I think SB is generally hot, and my eyeballs are still seared with the image of her character prancing out of her make-over session in MISS CONGENIALITY. Do you suppose she's available for the Christmas formal?
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