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Murder By Numbers

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ben Chaplin, Ryan Gosling, Michael Pitt and Chris Penn
Directed by: Barbet Schroeder
Rated: R


Bluntly Speaking? Murder by Numbers delivers hefty chills with appropriate thrills throughout its twisting albeit semi-predictable tale!

MBN introduces us to two above average spoiled teens filled with that oh-so-in boredom with the world personality flaw.

There's Justin, (Michael Pitt) the middleclass angst ridden gothic that thinks so much he has thought himself to thinking he's a philosopher. He has this disturbing synopsis of living. To be totally emotionally free one must be devoid of moral constraints and be open to committing crime without guilt, thusly, crime equals freedom. Or some such gobbly gook.

His buddy Richard (Ryan Gosling) is that slithering stylin' hip-la-rue guy. He's that richy rich type brat that wants power thrills and doesn't care who's hurt in the way of his having a good time.

Their parents are nowhere to be seen and somehow, even though they are certainly separate stereotypes, have found each other and share a quirky interest. Justin and Richard aren't into X-Box and shooting some hoops together, they prefer to chill in an old abandoned Cliffside lodge and plan the perfect crime by a roaring fire.

The creepy duo fancy themselves uber intelligent and have become bored with the commons. So brings about their little game of murder.

They believe they can devise, execute (pardon the pun) and get away with this meticulously staged murder just by following the steps…it's like painting by the numbers for two as smart as they…

They'll confuse the police with the bizarre evidence they'll plant, they'll pick a random victim, and they'll even provide a perfect suspect for them. Boy aren't they clever little demons…

So, a young woman is found brutally murdered and a plethora of evidence pollutes the crime scene. Fibers lay about and shoe prints are clear…

Enter homicide detective Cassie Mayweather (Sandra Bullock). She's such a tough cookie her fellow coppers swear she pees standing up. Sure Cassie's a bit of a macho gal but she's also one of the finest homicide detectives in America.

As she begins to sniff around the crime scene she can't help but feel something's amiss. The young miss also seems to have a few ghosts from her own past resurfacing and clouding her objectivity in the case.

She's assigned a partner, Sam (Ben -oh-la-la- Chaplin) who's new to homicide and Cassie's whole "by the balls" she-male persona. She gives him some ribbing about his anti-knowledge and then gives him some rubbing about his feline knowledge (queue porn music now, please).

As they edge closer to figuring out the mystery of the dead woman's killer the audience is shown how calious the murderers are and it's a tad unerving how realistic these two everyday teens appear to be. It's some heavy stuff, but we also get to sit and watch Sandra Bullock be charming and wrinkle her twenty million dollar nose to ease the tension. She's as perky as Meg Ryan and as tough as Ashley Judd but she has a more down-to-Earth chickbabe-in-that-farted- in-the-express-lane-next-to-you appeal. Here Sandy's such a macho girl, you'd almost expect to spit tobacco and scratch her groin!

Ben Chaplin is edibly cute like a big-ole-box-of-Oreos! He looks like Joaquin Phoenix and Antonio Banderas had a love child; that sexy stare with the quirky face structure. I'd like to slather Ben in Jerry's ice cream, wait till it's all melted and sticky and….um, er.

The film 's bad guys, Michael Pitt and Ryan Gosling stole their scenes. The film really would have been a total dud if not for these super talents working the script. This young buck Ryan Gosling, on top of being a fantastic actor, is amazingly adorable! Yum! He's got that intensity lurking that just screams volatile. And Michael Pitt morphs between boyish and otherworldly handsome. Plus he has that whole smoky brood thing down! Keep an eye out for these two they are extreme talents.

Murder By Numbers is a great night at the movies. It cheeses out a wee bit at the end, and there's some silly parts that really don't seem to fit too well, but I think if you're a Bullock fan, like myself, you're going to just love it.

Snack recommendation: Krispy Kreme Donuts


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