"Murder By Numbers"
THE TITLE and the contents of the film are at slight variance. But that's not the point. It has a murder and there could be more, if the perverts are not caught soon enough. So one supposes, the title may have some bearing on the film! Warner Bros International's ``Murder By Numbers," is a gloomy, dark but thought inspiring film about youth and what they do with their intelligence and time. This however being a precondition to the fact, that these are kids with tremendous brainpower - and of course those who want to do things just for the heck of it or to just prove a point. Even if it is murder! Something the West very easily preoccupies itself with. So here goes. If you are smart, precise and do your homework can you plan and execute the perfect murder? Richard Haywood (Ryan Gosling) and Justin Pendleton (Michael Pitt) are pretty sure that they have just pulled of the impossible kill someone and baffle the investigators so much that they could get off clean. The only problem is that if you do everything so much by brainpower, you could forget that there will always be someone smarter who sees through the plan! And in this case that one person is Cassie Mayweather (Sandra Bullock), a homicide detective - emotionally disturbed enough to have an insight into the criminal mind and a loner. (So that's where the predictable element comes in). And yes, she is also very dedicated to her cases and worries them like a dog with a bone to finish. She has a partner, Sam (Ben Chaplin) gentle, willing to let her take the lead and who as the case progress, is convinced that the classic profile will lead them to the killer. As Cassie gets more involved with the case, her past (another element of predictability) rears its head. No matter what she believes, gets her credibility eroded. Her personal life is in shambles and her prickly partnering, could be her undoing.
The germ of the story (screenplay Tony Gayton) is based on a 1920s case of Leopold and Loeb, a pair of honours students in a psychotic intellectual exercise, tried to commit a perfect murder. In this movie, they are two unlikely boys - with shades of homosexuality- who try this in a philosophical quest to be supermen. And then comes Cassie. Haunted by some trauma she pours everything into her work and spends her spare time drinking and watching TV. This, a departure for Sandra Bullock, who prefers to move from her humour sweet girl act, towards the dark side of characters. In fact, one of the remarkable scenes in the film is that of her seducing her new partner. It is probably one of the most tepid scenes in itself, but it's a pointer to the grim and lonely person that she has become. It injects certain harshness to the person that is Cassie, who now and then can add a note of eeriness by her strange behaviour.
The movie, directed by Barbet Schroeder, has the structure of the Colombian shootouts. You know who has done it, if not exactly how, and how the detective goes about proving it. Cassie's intuition is so strong that it is as if she has already seen the whole thing.
As she interviews Justin and Richard, she develops a loathing for the latter, who is a rich, smug kid. The movie also finds the time to shift to the strange relationship between the boys - both of whom perform very well - with Justin in a furtive manner and Gosling in an oily fashion, that would want to make anyone smack him across the face. But then, the film goes on to such a contrived climax that the good work done till now, comes to naught. It lacks a sense of completeness and makes the viewer tired with all this psychological hoopla. And does it offer a catharsis? In a way - in that the culprits are apprehended. But does Cassie, get over her past? Ah - we hope she does!
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