Murder By Numbers

Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Gosling, Michael Pitt, Agnes Bruckner, Chris Penn

Director: Barbet Schroeder

This is very much a Sandra Bullock movie. As well as being the star she is also one of the two executive producers. This isn’t a criticism, personally I like Sandra Bullock, but it should be a major consideration when deciding if you want to see it.

Sandra plays a homicide detective Cassie Mayweather assigned to the investigation of the murder of a woman where all the clues are textbook perfect. This is because they are straight out of a book, carefully planed to lead the police to s specific conclusion. It won’t spoil the film for you to know that the murder has been planned and executed by two high school seniors Richard (Ryan Gosling) and Justin (Michael Pitt) because their identity is revealed to the viewer from the beginning. What we have to discover throughout the film is their motive and also slowly revealed is Cassie’s dark past and why she starts to take the murder so personally.

Ben Chaplin also stars as Cassie’s new partner Sam in a role reversal to the usual male / female cop partnerships. There are some amusing moments as Cassie coldly seduces an uncertain Sam eventually revealing deeper reasons for Cassie’s behaviour.

MURDER BY NUMBERS is a difficult movie to pass judgement on. Sandra Bullock really plays her character of Cassie very intensely and for the most part it’s convincing. It falls down in the scenes where Richard one of the high school students, who is also one of the murderers, flirts with Cassie and Cassie responds positively. These scenes just don’t work. The film is also lacking something, it’s a bit too ‘movie by numbers’. However I don’t want to leave you with the impression it was bad. It’s a decent film, enjoyable up to a point and certainly worth watching.

4 out of 6 stars

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