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Murder by Numbers (2002)

 -  Crime | Drama | Thriller  -  19 April 2002 (USA)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 38,841 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 294 user | 137 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

Two gifted high school students execute a "perfect" murder - then become engaged in an intellectual contest with a seasoned homicide detective.

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Title: Murder by Numbers (2002)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ray Feathers
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Captain Rod Cody
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Asst. D.A. Al Swanson
Janni Brenn ...
Ms. Elder
John Vickery ...
Restaurant Manager
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Mr. Chechi
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Olivia Lake, the Victim
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Male Officer in Flashback
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Lab Technician
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Lawyer
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Storyline

Richard Haywood, a Californian high school's coolest kid, secretly teams up with another rich kid in his class, brilliant nerd Justin 'Bonaparte' Pendleton, whose erudition, specially in forensic matters, allows them to plan elaborately perfect murders, just for the kick, for which they set up Richard's marijuana supplier, their school's janitor Ray Feathers, as a psychotic serial killer. The case is assigned to detectives Cassie 'the hyena' Mayweather, who carries a sequoia-size chip on the shoulder from her previous life, and her brilliant new partner, Sam Kennedy, who just transferred from the vice squad; they can work together very well, and even fit romantically, but fall out over different professional attitudes towards the investigation, which Captain Rod Cody and her understandably vindictive abused ex, Assistant D.A. Al Swanson, soon ban her from when she disobeys instructions and hand to him. When the plotting boys both dig class-mate Lisa Mills, their unnatural bond comes ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The only flaw in their plan was her. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language, a sex scene and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 April 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Foolproof  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$262,841 (Australia) (1 November 2002)

Gross:

$685,907 (Australia) (15 November 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Henry Bean, who also directed Ryan Gosling in The Believer (2001), did several uncredited re-writes on this film. See more »

Goofs

When Cassie is testing her theory by busting the clock on the deck of her house boat you see a boat come by leaving a large wake yet her boat remains stationary and doesn't rock from the waves. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Richard: Shall we say the words one last time?
Justin: One cannot live fully without embracing suicide in crime.
Richard: Say it.
Justin: A pact made with relentless fire that requires that, while some live, others die.
Richard: On three...
in unison: One, two, three
[gun shot]
See more »

Connections

References The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

What Led Me to This Town
Written by Karen Grotberg, Gary Louris, Timothy O'Reagan and Marc Perlman
Performed by The Jayhawks
Courtesy of American/Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Very decent even if flawed
27 February 2010 | by (Portugal) – See all my reviews

When the dead body of a woman is found in the woods near the river, feisty homicide detective Cassie Mayweather (Sandra Bullock) and her new partner, Sam Kennedy (Ben Chaplin) are assigned to the case. Determined to solve the crime, Mayweather follows her hunches and microscopic bits of evidence, focusing her investigation on two teens: Justin Pendleton (Michael Pitt), a brilliant, misunderstood nerd, and Richard Haywood (Ryan Gosling), a smooth talking, spoiled rich kid. From the beginning, the audience knows that this unlikely duo has formed a secret bond that pushes the boundaries of morality and the law in their attempt to commit the perfect murder and experience complete freedom. It's up to Mayweather, who buries herself in her work in an attempt to forget her own tormented past, and Kennedy, a transfer from Vice who is working his first homicide case, to ignore the stereotypical profiles and see past the obvious in order to solve the crime.

Murder by Numbers is an interesting and entertaining small little thriller that doesn't excel but never disappoints either. The film is gripping, engaging and has this somewhat mysterious atmosphere that creates quite a bit of tension. The story does have some small plot holes but nothing that will ruin the film. Gosling delivered a great performance as usual and I can see why he felt attracted to his project, the film ends up being more of a character study then a thriller often reflecting on the human nature. Michael Pitt was excellent as the ostracized teenager and Sandra Bullock (who also served as producer) did OK as the seasoned detective Cassie Mayweather. What really threw me off and dragged the film down was not so much Bullock's performance but the way her character was written and her past story. It was extremely cliché and contrived. Still, I was entertained by what I think is, a decent and well acted thriller.

6.5/10


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