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Murder by Numbers (2002)

tomatometer

31

Average Rating: 5.3/10
Reviews Counted: 125
Fresh: 39 | Rotten: 86

A predictable police procedural that works better as a character study rather than a thriller.

45

Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 33
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 18

A predictable police procedural that works better as a character study rather than a thriller.

audience

50

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 61,385

My Rating

Movie Info

When a pair of bright-but sociopathic teens conspires to commit the perfect murder, a troubled cop teams with her eager new partner to solve the case that left the community in fear and the police without a clue. High school ladies' man Richard Haywood (Ryan Gosling) and outcast Justin Pendleton (Michael Pitt) have no motive to commit murder, but they soon conspire to choose a random victim and pin the crime on local pot dealer Ray (Chris Penn), under the guise that the police will never suspect

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Tony Gayton

Sep 24, 2002

$31.9M

Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (146) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (39) | Rotten (86) | DVD (26)

The outline of Murder by Numbers may be familiar, but the filmmakers and Bullock do an expert job of filling in the colors.

July 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

We're less in suspense over how (or if) the killers will be caught than we are over the question of just who this tough, hedonistic detective is.

June 1, 2002 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's well worth catching for its interesting twists on the Leopold and Loeb story.

May 17, 2002 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As long as Schroeder stays with the kids, the film musters a good deal of restless tabloid intensity, and even the occasional twinge of pathos.

April 23, 2002 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Predictable thriller is definitely not for kids.

December 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

The problem is that there's no real mystery to this mystery.

June 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

... It leaves you feeling that it could have been so much more.

January 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Star-Democrat (Easton, MD) | Comment (1)
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

Lesson learned: Never ask Ben Chaplin to lose his British accent.

August 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

The literal cliffhanger ending is far too overblown to be convincing, but most of what comes before it deserves praise.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

Director Barbet Schroeder, whose Barfly (1987) remains one of the most memorable in my mental filmbank, shoots this script with the kind of concentrated power that turns every scene into the most effective tool emotionally as well as expositionally.

October 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Bullock's complete lack of focus and ability quickly derails the film

September 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

Despite the presence of Ms. Bullock, Murder By Numbers doesn't add up to very much, and like those old paint-by-numbers kits, the movie can easily be set aside and forgotten.

September 26, 2002
Movie Metropolis

There are times when the movie plays like a version of Alfred Hitchcock's Rope if the Jimmy Stewart role were replaced with the team from TV's C.S.I.

August 22, 2002 Full Review Source: Lawrence Journal-World
Lawrence Journal-World

An interesting idea turned into a movie about too many things. Maybe complexity in today?s dumbed down cinema is good; but complexity is not the same as "too much."

August 1, 2002 Full Review

Dizer que "Cálculo Mortal" é uma decepção é constatar o óbvio.

July 19, 2002 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

Moments of force exist within a work that feels more like product than art, and things end up disturbing for all the wrong reasons.

July 16, 2002

Only mildly entertaining, "Murder By Numbers" is not as "thrilling" as a thriller should be.

July 9, 2002 Full Review
Supercala.com

118 - the number of minutes this movies runs. 22 - the number of minutes it took to bore me to death. 116 - the number of minutes I want back.

July 9, 2002 Full Review Source: 3BlackChicks Review
3BlackChicks Review

Murder by Numbers nos obliga a identificarnos no con los representantes de la ley, sino con los autores del crímen.

June 22, 2002
Cinenganos

The debut script by Tony Gayton completely betrays the director's compelling tone.

June 18, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Blather
Film Blather

plods through its psychological murder-mystery trappings like well-worn clothes, and the edges are definitely starting to look frayed

June 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

It's an intriguing set-up, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

June 12, 2002 Full Review Source: BBC

The story has some nice twists but the ending and some of the back-story is a little tired. The performances are all solid; it merely lacks originality to make it a great movie.

June 7, 2002 Full Review Source: TheMovieChicks.com

Audience Reviews for Murder by Numbers

A watchable thriller, but lacks real excitement! Bullock is great as always a watchable sunday movie!
November 20, 2013
FiLmCrAzY
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

Two teens decide to commit the perfect murder just because they can. They figure they can set it up that obviously the murder was committed by a local janitor/drug dealer. Of course Sandra Bullock just knows that it wasn't the drug dealer, and the battle of wills and more between her and the two teens is on.
April 3, 2012
Redlats

Super Reviewer

I often wonder why this is a much loved film of mine, it's certainly not one of the best murder tales nor is it the most suspenseful of Thrillers, but I feel the reason lies in the forensic analysis and planning of a perfect murder, alongside the battle of intelligences and ego.

This is a film I've watched countless times and never grow old of Ryan Gosling's smug performance.
January 27, 2011
76Majikat

Super Reviewer

Murder by Numbers is certainly a by the numbers thriller. Two teenagers plan out the perfect murder. Just like the Hitchcock classic, Rope. Unlike that film, Murder by the Numbers has none of the intensity or dread. Gosling and Pitt make an excellent disturbed duo and play their roles with such conviction that both they and you, feel as though they have done nothing wrong. Chaplin and Bullock are regular cops with their own personal problems and colorful pasts. It's a unfolds at a decent rate but ultimately leads to a climax that is both predictable and disappointing. The word "decent" pops up a lot to describe just about every aspect.
April 7, 2009
kiriyamakazou

Super Reviewer

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