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
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sandra Bullock ... Cassie Mayweather
Ben Chaplin ... Sam Kennedy
Ryan Gosling ... Richard Haywood
Michael Pitt ... Justin Pendleton
Agnes Bruckner ... Lisa Mills
Chris Penn ... Ray
R.D. Call R.D. Call ... Captain Rod Cody
Tom Verica ... Al Swanson
Janni Brenn Janni Brenn ... Ms. Elder
John Vickery ... Restaurant Manager
Michael Canavan ... Mr. Chechi
Krista Carpenter ... Olivia Lake
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:

Let The Mind Games Begin See more »


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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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the fourth Hollywood film adaptation of the infamous 1924 Leopold-Loeb murder case. The first was Alfred Hitchcock's Rope (1948), the second Richard Fleischer's Compulsion (1959) and the third Tom Kalin's Swoon (1992). See more »

Goofs

When Justin and Richard are at the bluff (after Justin hits Richard) and Justin is walking away, you can see crew/equipment in the car window, closest to the screen (furthest away from Justin.) 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]
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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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User Reviews

 
Leopold and Loeb and Ted and Alice
28 October 2002 | by meeblySee all my reviews

All the elements are there: Two privileged teens with a latent homosexual relationship commit murder for the thrill of it, and to see if they can outsmart the law. That's L&L, as told in "Compulsion", "Rope", "Swoon" and who knows what else. Add in an angst-ridden investigator (could still be "Rope"), make her a small-town detective with a sordid past that she's trying to escape, and throw in her green partner, with whom she has an uneasy, sometimes sexual relationship, and give their relationship some heavy-handed subtext as well. Any cliches jumping out at you yet? All it needs is for the boys to have neglectful parents and for the detectives to have a commander who wants them off the case and, oh, wait, we've got that, too!

People tell me I'm too critical of today's movies. I say filmgoers aren't critical enough. I still love movies, even some Hollywood output, but I really hate it when I can watch a movie and, without even thinking much about it, recite the "high concept" pitch that the writers or producers or whoever made to the studio exec. This is the tenth movie I've seen in 2002 that's been that easy, and the message it sends is that no one in Hollywood is even bother to THINK anymore, much less be creative. And Barbet Schroeder, God bless him, was at one time a genuinely creative director, turning "Reversal of Fortune" from a bland rehash of a story, to which everyone knew the ending, that had flooded the media a few years prior, into a compelling character study by making it just that. "Murder by Numbers", on the other hand, is a by-the-numbers character study with even its subtext having been co-opted from countless films noirs and 60s and 70s psychological drama/mysteries like "Peeping Tom" and "Klute".

Even Sandy as a cop was much more convincing as her typecast "lovable klutz makes good" character in "Miss Congeniality". She still shows promise as a dramatic actress, but she hasn't realized it yet. The teens are appropriately intense, but despite all the claims the film makes, they're really not that bright, and experienced homicide cops would definitely be smarter than they are here. In this way, the film even manages to co-opt from 80s and 90s teen farces.

Basically, there's nothing new here. And if the celluloid flophouses want four times as much as they did 20 years ago for me to sit my ass in their chairs, they better be prepared to offer more than a rehash of the same stuff I watched back then.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 April 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Murd3r 8y Num8ers See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,307,394, 21 April 2002

Gross USA:

$31,945,749

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$56,714,147
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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