*** Official "MURDER BY NUMBERS" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert Crawford, Apr 18, 2002.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Murder By Numbers". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.
    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!
    If you need to discuss those type of issues, I have designated an Official Discussion Thread which can be found at this link.
  2. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

    Jan 23, 2000
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    Well, I suppose I get to weigh in with the first review.
    What can I say about Murder by Numbers? Competently acted. Competently directed. Completely forgettable. In fact, the only thing about this that steps outside of its made for cable roots is the presence and effort by Sandra Bullock. Without her involvement, this one would likely have been unknown to anybody that doesn't frequent the USA channel.
    So what does Sandra bring to the table? She brings a surprising amount, actually. While it is true that she seems to have been trying to expand her horizons from her usual fare with 28 Days and this, I think she was able to make the role more watchable than if many other actresses had taken her place. This role combines some good psychological maneuvering, some sexuality that is nice to see from her, and some some venom as well. I, for one, was glad to see her try this out.
    The rest of the actors contribute adequately. The two suspects were well cast in their roles as the manipulator and the brain. The rest do well enough to keep you interested.
    The story is serviceable enough, but all too familiar. The greatest inspiration for this one is, at least to me, Alfred Hitchcock's Rope. The similarities are all too numerous. Without spoiling anything, I'll say that anyone familiar with that film will be tempted to call this a remake. You have the same thrill killers, the same sexual overtones, and the same taunting interaction between the suspects and their pursuer. The ending is also elaborate in the same Hitchcock sense, and it comes off as though it were done by Brian DePalma. There are also the requisite errors by the suspects, which really seem uncharactaristically stupid. But, they only become clear in retrospect, which I don't think is a problem because the movie fades from memory so fast.
    Unfortunately, at its core, there are no surprises in the film, so it is forced to rely on the strength of the performances alone. The story, by design, holds no secrets except for a silly morality question at the end. So, to that end, I think the enjoyment of this film will rest entirely on whether you are a fan of Sandra or any crime film in general. I am of both, so I rated it as [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] . Your mileage may vary.
  3. Mark Hobbs

    Mark Hobbs Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 3, 2002
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    Sandra is great, the rest of the movie is forgettable. The script holds no surprises and is actually almost bad in some places (some of the lines given to Sandra's partner for instance). The two suspects are cast very well and they both give good performances.

    There still aren't a lot of great choices at your local theater, so this one may be worth a view if you like Sandra. It is good to see her trying out different roles. It isn't a must-see, but I enjoyed it.

  4. DennisP

    DennisP Stunt Coordinator

    May 5, 2000
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    I really expected to like this movie much more than I did. First, the story line sounded like a real winner....a couple of high school kids plan a perfect murder. I would love to read the writers story before the "ham handed" Hollywood producers got done with it. This could have been a really good movie....but the last 20 minutes of the movie ruined it for me. It's really a shame when you can go to a movie and see how an original idea is twisted to fit the Hollywood mold. As I watched the credits roll, I recalled the the movie "The Majestic" and remembered how the Jim Carey character sat with the Hollywood producers and watched his expressions as the producers kept adding more and more stupid cliches to his movie script. I had to smile thinking that the writer of "Murder by Numbers" must have experienced the same thing. This movie has a real "cornball" ending..and I caution anyone going to see this movie of that fact. Sandra Bullock did a passable job as the lead...but it apears that character was carrying too much baggage in the movie to make it work well. I really wish Hollywood would learn that sometimes...a little less can be a whole lot better.

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