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Murder by Numbers Review


Unbearable
Since her "breakthrough" performance in the Sylvester Stallone action vehicle Demolition Man, I've never much liked Sandra Bullock or her selection of films. My initial reaction to the previews of Murder by Numbers was a laughing fit. But I ventured into the theater not based upon the marquee name of Bullock, but by the crew behind the camera - renowned director Barbet Schroeder, cinematographer Luciano Tovoli, composer Clint Mansell, and screenwriter Tony Gayton (who wrote the solid, upcoming film The Salton Sea). In the end, I didn't know who to blame for this awkward and schlock-filled "serial killer" flick, which is about as enjoyable as watching that new Andy Richter TV show.

Bullock plays hard-nosed, seasoned homicide detective Cassie Mayweather, who has more issues than four of my ex-girlfriends combined. After a young woman is found dead in her district, Cassie and her new partner Sam Kennedy (Ben Chaplin) take the case and discover conflicting evidence. Using techniques she must have picked up by watching CSI, Cassie's intrepid sleuthing leads her to cocky high school student Richard Haywood (Ryan Gosling, who eerily resembles a Muppet), who owns a unique pair of boots linked to the crime scene but were stolen weeks before the crime. Richard's airtight alibi and carefree nature only confounds Cassie's intrepid sleuthing skills and brings to surface memories of a tragic event in Cassie's life, involving a bitter husband and 17 stab wounds.

Continue reading: Murder by Numbers Review

Murder By Numbers Review


Weak

Sandra Bullock's best dramatic performance to date and the intelligent direction of Barbet Schroeder ("Reversal of Fortune," "Single White Female") are almost enough to lift the thrill-kill cat-and-mouser "Murder by Numbers" above its paint-by-numbers plot about cunning teenage sociopaths.

Breaking out of her America's sweetheart mold, Bullock digs deeply into the anguished psyche of her character, a hard-headed cop who still bears the physical and emotional scars from the day her drunk, abusive ex-husband stabbed her a dozen times and left her for dead in a ravine when she was in her early 20s.

Driven to become a homicide detective by the experience, she's the kind of investigator who refuses to become desensitized by her job. At the beginning of what becomes the complex investigation at the center of the film, she deliberately takes a moment at the scene of a murder to feel something for the victim -- to let the death affect her.

Continue reading: Murder By Numbers Review

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