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Murder By Numbers is a 2002 film starring Sandra Bullock, with Michael Pitt and Ryan Gosling. (Trust me, everyone only remembers those last two.) Det. Cassie Mayweather suspects more at work than an unplanned act of violence when a young woman is found strangled to death in a ditch. Her gut instincts get her in trouble with her supervisors, but they lead her correctly to privileged, smug high school student Richard Haywood... and from there to brooding Nietzsche Wannabe Justin Pendleton. The connection between the two boys is more than imagined, and as their mind games played with the police and with each other grow still more complicated, Cassie attempts to find some way to put an end to their plans.
Tropes found in this film include:
- Bluffing the Murderer
- Coitus Ensues
- Cruel Twist Ending
- Disney Villain Death
- Emo Kid: Justin.
- Fair Cop: Cassie.
- Framing the Guilty Party
- Good Cop, Bad Cop
- Heel Face Turn: Psych!
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Michael Pitt gets to play another thrill killer, A less inept one, in Funny Games.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty
- In Medias Res: The film opens with a scene from about its middle.
- It Works Better with Bullets: Richie uses this trope during an attempted suicide pact with Justin. It fails majestically.
- Locard's Theory
- Nietzsche Wannabe: Both boys, but predominantly Justin.
- Outlaw Couple: Face it, this film is built on Ho Yay.
- Perp Sweating
- Reverse Whodunnit
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Justin and Richie, for given values of sensitive and manly.
- Smug Snake: Richie.
- That One Case: Haunts Cassie's career and clouds her judgement, since her current suspect reminds her of the perp. That case being her own attempted murder at the hands of an abusive husband.
- The Perfect Crime
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Very, very
based off ofvaguely inspired by the Leopold and Loeb case.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot
- You Taste Delicious: Richie licks Cassie's face during their last scene together.