I was a little surprised to see so relatively few reviews on this Amazon page for the 2002 thriller 'Murder By Numbers', a movie which really made people stand up and take notice of young Ryan Gosling, who had been a child star in the title role of Young Hercules in he TV series of the same name. I decided to give it yet another watch last night, and thoroughly enjoyed it the fourth time around.
Based of the idea of the notorious real-life 1920s' case of American murderers Leopold and Loeb, of whom were to later inspire Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rope', It's the old story of two privileged teenage friends who decide to commit a murder purely for the thrill of it. Confident that they won't be outsmarted by the law, Sandra Bullock, who is convincing as ever in her role, this time as a tough policewoman, is equally determined to bring these boys to justice.
The movie contains some brilliant flashbacks throughout it's run, which are actually connected to the case, and make the viewer realise why Bullock's character feels genuine empathy with the victim. Towards the end of the film, this lady of the law manages to overcome her own personal fears and painful memories of a man whose's actions towards her have never really left since, which makes 'Murder By Numbers' even more of an interesting drama
For me at least, it is the fresh-faced Ryan Gosling who effortlessly manages to steal almost the entire movie with his awesome performance of the smartly-dressed, cigarette smoking bad boy Richard Haywood, who is seemingly the more confident, cooler-at-school, and tougher of the murderous boys. The acting from his more intelligent friend Justin Pendleton, played by Michael Pitt is also very good.
I thought that 'Murder by Numbers' was a thoroughly enjoyable film with a good twist at the end. If you enjoy reasonable intelligent thrillers without a great deal of blood and gore, then it really is well worth watching.
The DVD contains the film's trailer, and an optional commentary with it's director Barbet Schroeder and editor Lee Percy as the extra features.