9/10
A very good movie
15 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I can get very tired of murder mysteries with the exception of a few really excellent TV series. Otherwise, there are just too many of these murder plot themes. I don't like the theme of the two over-clever, selfish youths killing as an intellectual exercise, I've no interest whatsoever in Hitchcock who appears to have been associated with this in some way I don't intend to find out about. But don't misunderstand me, the theme is in itself excellent, the whole movie is so well done, and of course Sandra Bullock is superlative as always.

Sandra's character is (as in Miss Congeniality) not rated by the male team she works with in spite of her obvious skills, and the boss mostly ignores her ideas, eventually forcing her aside and giving the case to her male partner. Of course Sandra works out what's going on and nearly gets killed in a very dramatic denouement. It's intriguing how the boy who worked out the murder plot can't allow her to be killed by his colleague - he has a conscience of some sort and perhaps could be "saved, while the other is a true psychopath.

Sandra's hard shell is caused by misery in her past that's tied in poignantly with the murder case. Her colleague, realising that Sandra's solving this case in spite of being balked by the dense superior, finally discovers what happened to Sandra herself in her teens, that she must now face up to and exorcise and the last scene shows her starting - we hope anyway - to do just that.

I can see from the few other reviews I've had time to read that this movie would attract a broadish group - those interested in the two spoilt boys whiling away their time with their grisly philosophical determination to trick the police and get away with the perfect murder, the relationship between them that's so cleverly depicted, the ghastly links to the heroine's past, a police theme, and some smokes and mirrors - as well as for Hitchcock fans.

For those who've queried why Bullock's character has to have a problematic past, really I think this would be a far less interesting movie if she had been just a detective trying to fathom what was going on, with a willing sidekick helping out and a male-chauvinist boss. The link between the murder victim and the detective is necessary to show the detective becoming too involved or otherwise how would she lose her arrogant boss's confidence and thereby nearly lose her life? That's hardly an original theme, in fact it's usually an extremely irritating theme as this male chauvinist boss brutally tells his frustrated but obviously inspired operative to get off the case and leave it to someone who clearly doesn't have quite the skills to solve it nice though the sidekick is. I was getting very worried towards the end re what might happen to Sandra's character as her emotional involvement in the case and special sympathy for the unfortunate victim of the crime dangerously drove her on with this case by herself.

I wasn't disappointed re the relationship between Bullock's character and her sidekick. That goes along interestingly and at times very poignantly.

The relationship between the two boys is definitely intriguing, if that's what you were interested in watching. I felt it was kept low key in some ways either because the movie-makers didn't want to get into boy-boy friendships too much, or because we weren't supposed to think emotion ruled their relationship. The movie cleverly makes you wonder which boy's in charge of the situation and there are some twists and turns and the boys show their underlying immaturity at various stages.

There one thing I wish had been clarified and that's what happens "after the movie ends" when Sandra's character arrives at the Court.... you need to see to movie to know why she's there.

Very well acted by all. I certainly can't agree with those who complained against Bullock's acting - she was superb. The part suited her very well indeed. The story is gripping even if murder mysteries aren't your thing and they aren't that often mine.
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