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
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 »
Shall we say the words one last time?
One cannot live fully without embracing suicide in crime.
A pact made with relentless fire that requires that, while some live, others die.
One, two, three
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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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