- They choose a random victim, so that there is no
trail of any kind to either of them.
- They frame a deranged janitor by leaving behind
various clues prepared weeks in advance.
- They kill the victim in such a way that the
deranged janitor will fit the psychological profile the police are
likely to assemble.
- They arrange perfect alibis for themselves.
- They even leave behind clues that point to
themselves until they police find them to be false leads. For
example, the bootprints of one of the kids is found on the crime
scene. It turns out that he reported those boots stolen three weeks
earlier. Of course, they framed the same guy for the theft of the
boots as for the murder.
- They arrange for the flight and "suicide" of the
They are true sociopaths, with no feeling for the victim or the framed
The film is quite strong in both plot and character
There are only three important characters, the two kids and the lead
detective (Sandra Bullock), and all three are developed in great
depth. The film's greatest weakness is that it has a fourth main
character, another police detective, who is not only bland, but
appears to be there merely as a plot device, to show how Bullock
manipulates people, and to show how the kids' plan could have worked
perfectly on a superficial thinker. The male detective bought into the
solutions the kids had mocked up for a by-the-book investigation, but
Bullock hung on for a different solution based on her own psychology,
and her knowledge of a person in her past who was similar to one of
The mystery is interesting even though we see from the
outset who did the killing, and we know that the dogged Bullock will
bring them down. The scriptwriter makes it all work by keeping us
guessing about how the geniuses will get caught, and by pulling a bit
of a switch in our expectations of the relationship between the two
murderers, accomplished by gradually revealing the precise details of
I enjoyed the film, but it
sure lacks energy. These are some of the most laid-back actors ever. I
think Ben Chaplin actually fell asleep a few times, and he was
delivering his lines at the time.
General consensus: no consensus. Just
about every possible note on the scale. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli
2.5/4, BBC 2/5, Apollo 70/100, filmcritic.com 1/5
- IMDB summary.
IMDb voters score it 6.2/10, Guardian voters 7.9/10,
Apollo voters 67/100
- with their dollars: a massive loser. Why
did they need $50 million to make this film? Was it all in
salaries? The film grossed $31 million domestically, meaning
it lost the studio a bunch of money at the theatrical level.
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this description, this
film is a C. Interesting approach to psychological murder mystery, but very
low in energy.