All of you forensics wonks
who watch CSI avidly every
Thursday night will remember the plot where a wily wacko commits murders
and then leaves fake fingerprints and plants hairs to throw the investigators
off the scent. Like most of the episodes of CSI
, it was well written, well acted and well directed. In short, CSI
is everything that Murder by Numbers is not. This new film
with Sandra Bullock as star and Executive Producer is meant to be a taut
thriller but ended up putting me to sleep. I love Sandra Bullock
very deeply and she has made some great movies but this isn't one of them.
By the time Murder by Numbers wended its way to what was meant to
be its thrilling ending, I didn't care whether Sandra lived or died.
I just wanted the movie to be over. Of course, since Murder by
Numbers has a most predictable plot, there is no tension whatsoever
about whether Sandra will live or die. Duh! Or whether, since the denouement
takes place in a house on the edge of a cliff, Sandra will be hanging on
for dear life at the end of the movie. Ya, right, whatever.
Where was I? I think I nodded off. Oh ya. Murder by Numbers tells the story of two high school kids (Ryan Gosling & Michael Pitt) who form a sort-of murder club and decide to commit the perfect murder. The murder is investigated by two police detectives (Bullock & Ben Chaplin). The kids leave all sorts of fake forensic evidence to confuse the cops. But these kids, who are supposed to geniuses, are idiots. Besides leaving actual evidence linking them to the crime, they hang around all the time drawing attention to themselves as suspects. The only thing that keeps this movie running longer than 5 minutes is that the cops are idiots too. Well, Bullock and her partner aren't exactly idiots but they are distracted 95% of the time by Bullock's myriad personal problems and psychoses. Of course, the words, psycho cop, are a bit redundant in the movies. Many of Hollywood's psycho cops are very entertaining but not this one. There's supposed to be tension galore in this film, between Bullock and Chaplin, between Gosling and Pitt, between Gosling and Bullock. You get the idea but it just isn't there. We don't even get a proper build-up of sexual tension between Bullock and Chaplin. She has him in bed before the opening credits are barely over. Bullock does have a unique reason for keeping her top on during the sex scene. But it is linked to the big plot twist so I won't spoil it for you. As if you would care.
Ok, where was I? Bullock, as I said, is one of my favs which explains why I was there in the theatre on opening weekend. And she can act. She can even do a good job of playing someone with myriad personal problems and psychoses as she showed in 28 days. And Ben Chaplin is a likeable guy. The two high school boys, Pitt and Gosling, are the type of hot young actors that I have never heard of since I never watch the WB Network. They got on my nerves, bigtime. Sean Penn's brother, Chris, has a small part as the high school janitor who is even dumber than everyone else in the movie. He's made about 50 movies, 47 of which I seem to have missed but he was in Footloose and Reservoir Dogs. Anyway, things were so bad by the end that I actually entertained the idea of leaving without watching the credits. But I stayed. I know my duty. But you don't have to. Stay home. Watch CSI. That show is so great.