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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
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:

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:

View content advisory »
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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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

The title refers to the song "Murder by Numbers," written by Sting and Andy Summers and performed by The Police, about planning the perfect murder. See more »

Goofs

Justin tells Richard to give him the surgical gloves. Richard already has one of the gloves fully on, yet hands both to Richard without taking it off. 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 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Goldberg Variations
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach (as J.S. Bach)
Performed by Chi Pi-Hsien, piano
Courtesy of Naxos of America
By Arrangement with Source/Q
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
By the Numbers
30 April 2002 | by jon.h.ochiaiSee all my reviews

Barbet Schroeder's "Murder by Numbers" starring Sandra Bullock is solid work, though not particularly compelling. I am a big Sandra Bullock fan, and she is effective here as forensic detective Cassie Mayweather, who is not very likable and a broken person too. However, there is a sense of detachment inherent in the story structure. It's about the perfect murder executed by two spoiled sociopath teenagers, Richard (Ryan Gusling) who is the cool one, and Justin ( Michael Pitt) who is the sympathetic geek. Basically, Richard and Justin kill a young woman, because they have nothing better to do on a school night. They are very smart and very arrogant which is normally not a bad thing, but it just doesn't work here. Tony Gayton's script does a great job of detailing the investigation of a puzzling murder, and it is truly by the numbers. We have these two punk kids flaunting their superiority, and we just want them to take a fall.

This is not a great exploration into the dark side, like Schroeder's "Reversal of Fortune" about Claus von Bulow. There are interesting turns in "Numbers". The movie is not so much a thriller, but rather a character study of Cassie. Sandra Bullock balances the bravado of Cassie, her fear of letting people get in with her, and her secret past. Bullock brings courage and strength to a suffering character. Her partner and sort of love interest, Sam (played by Ben Chaplin), is more a plot unconcealing than a real character. Though Chaplin does the bewilderment thing very admirably. The other nice touch is having Richard and Justin involved a strange sexual attraction. The most interesting thing about "Numbers" are Pitt and Gusling.

There are many entertaining twists and turns throughout the movie. Everything is done very competently. I saw the movie about a week ago, and in retrospect I like it a little more than I did when I saw it. However, it is just not inspired work. Sandra Bullock and Barbet Schroeder deserve a lot better, and so do we.


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