Murder by Numbers (2/10)

 Copyright © 2002 by Tony Medley


I violated one of my prime rules tonight and saw a movie with Sandra Bullock.  Iíve never understood how this woman became a movie star.  Anyway, I went to see Murder by Numbers.

This movie is worth seeing just to watch how truly bad an actress can be.  Bullock, as executive producer, did one smart thing.  She made sure she found a supporting actor who wouldnít out perform her.  She accomplished this task with aplomb by getting Ben Chaplin to sleepwalk his way through the part as her partner.  

She was fortunate, also, in getting Tony Gayton to direct his own poorly written screenplay.  He apparently went to a Hitchcock class once, or saw Vertigo and Foreign Correspondent in a double feature, and tried to make them both at the same time, all the while telling an updated version of Loeb & Leopold.  

Alas, all is not lost.  The teenagers, two men and one woman, are superb.  The Loeb and Leopold roles are played by Ryan Gosling and Michael Pitt and their teenage lover is played by Agnes Bruckner who is drop dead gorgeous.  Sheís so beautiful itís almost worth the price of admission just to watch her.  Almost.  

Unfortunately, Bullock is on screen so much that thereís not much to enjoy.  Given yet another politically correct heroine who initiates all the sex and just about everything else, her girly ineptitude in the final confrontation is as ludicrous as the rest of the movie.  

The sex between Bullock and Chaplin is uninvolving; the relationships between Bullock and everyone else, her partner, her boss, and the suspects are convoluted, inconsistent and inexplicable.  

If you want to see terminally horrible acting by Bullock and Chaplin, and a poorly written script poorly directed, this movie is for you.  However, I do believe that Gosling, Pitt, and Bruckner are so good that they are worth suffering through Bullock, Chaplin and Gaytonís writing and directing.

The End