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Murder by Numbers

Murder by Numbers

Sandra Bullock stars as Cassie Mayweather, a feisty homicide detective investigating the death of a woman whose body is discovered in the woods.

Her new partner, Sam Kennedy (Ben Chaplin) is a strict by-the-book policeman, and often the two personalities clash.  Cassie and Sam compile a profile of the killer and it's a puzzle because of its many contradictions.

And that's exactly the way the two teenage boys who killed the woman planned it.  Thinking they can outsmart the cops and commit the perfect crime, Richard (Ryan Gosling) and Justin (Michael Pitt) plant clues which they know will confuse and misdirect the police investigation.

The teens are thrill seekers who leave conflicting fibers, shoe prints and DNA evidence at the scene.  They feel they are intellectually superior to the cops and a cat and mouse game ensues.

The boys are unlikely companions.  Richard is popular with girls, arrogant and full of charm, whereas Justin is extremely shy and a loner.   They do however have some similarities which connect them; both are bright, come from privileged backgrounds and have uninvolved parents.

The killers however, underestimate Cassie.  She's tenacious and won't accept the obvious as gospel.  So, when Sam picks up on the clues left behind and zeroes in on a subject, she refuses to go along.

I enjoyed Bullock in this part.  She's not afraid to play a flawed, unglamorous character and performs with conviction.  The two young actors are equally effective as the evil, misguided killers.

There are some clichés here that show up in most thrillers, i.e.: the detective going up against a boss and being called on the carpet over and over, or having the heroine go into a dark, foreboding place alone, when she could call for backup, and a crowd of armed police would show up to help in a New York minute.  Oh well, if they changed those things, I guess it wouldn't be called a police thriller.

Murder by Numbers

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