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Murder by Numbers (2002)

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

Director:

Barbet Schroeder

Writer:

Tony Gayton
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Popularity
2,436 ( 259)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sandra Bullock ... Cassie Mayweather / Jessica Marie Hudson
Ben Chaplin ... Sam Kennedy
Ryan Gosling ... Richard Haywood
Michael Pitt ... Justin Pendleton
Agnes Bruckner ... Lisa Mills
Chris Penn ... Ray Feathers
R.D. Call ... Captain Rod Cody
Tom Verica ... Asst. D.A. Al Swanson
Janni Brenn Janni Brenn ... Ms. Elder
John Vickery ... Restaurant Manager
Michael Canavan ... Mr. Chechi
Krista Carpenter ... Olivia Lake, the Victim
Neal Matarazzo ... Male Officer in Flashback
Adilah Barnes ... Lab Technician
Jim Jansen ... 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 »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 April 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Foolproof See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,307,394, 21 April 2002, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$31,874,869, 30 June 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard's car, a Mustang, is the same type of car driven by Steve McQueen in Bullitt (1968). Ryan Gosling suggested that the car be used, as he is a fan of McQueen. See more »

Goofs

Cassie's robe is tied loosely around her neck, then jumps to being tightly tied between shots. 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

Featured in Six Feet Under: I'll Take You (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Smooth Rock
Written by Chris Goulstone
Courtesy of Associated Production Music LLC
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Gripping despite being overly familiar
4 August 2005 | by MOscarbradleySee all my reviews

As a hard-nosed cop investigating an apparently motiveless murder, and appearing to unravel as she does so, Sandra Bullock does something approximating to real acting in Barbet Schroeder's overly familiar thriller. Ryan Gosling and Michael Pitt play a couple of high school kids who commit a Loeb/Leopold style crime, planting a number of false 'clues' so that the police will build up a picture of the killer. They even have a suspect lined up. Of course, the one thing they didn't bank on was Bullock's chip-on-the-shoulder uberbitch detective.

Schroeder does not build his film visually. It has a conventional TV movie feel to it and, despite being well played, Pitt's nerdy all-knowing geek is a bit too formulaic. But the film holds you nevertheless. Schroeder displays a storyteller's gift for how things should develop, (though a subplot involving an earlier violent event in Bullock's life seems like an unnecessary intrusion). And as the cock-of-the-walk arrogant yet vulnerable rich kid killer Ryan Gosling is the real McCoy. He can convey charm and menace in equal measure and often in the same moment and confirms his status as one of the best young actors in movies at the minute.


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