The Number 23


Action / Drama / Mystery / Thriller


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September 26, 2011 at 08:06 PM


Jim Carrey as Walter Sparrow / Fingerling
Lynn Collins as Suicide Blonde / Mrs. Dobkins / Young Fingerling's Mother
Rhona Mitra as Laura Tollins
Logan Lerman as Robin Sparrow
498.22 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 41 min
P/S 3 / 94

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by samseescinema 6 / 10

It's a fine two-act movie. But that third act…

The Number 23 reviewed by Samuel Osborn

Psychological thrillers are a tough gig. You need an ending. The build-up, the suspense, the rising action, all that squirmy paranoia, it's easy enough to build. It's the ending that's the tricky part. Films like Memento do it right; films like Fight Club, too. Their twist, the unraveled knot of anxiety that splays out in explanation and relief, comes with another bulge of knots; it leaves you breathless and troubled, disturbed if you're lucky. But without the ending, without the final flick in the nose and punch in the gut, a psycho-thriller is just a bunch of untied shoelaces.

This is the affliction born to The Number 23. It's a fine two-act movie. But that third act…with the climax all flaccid and the end a noiseless wheeze, it leaves us with that let-down feeling of something promising turned instantly to a sham. I won't give the ending away, but suffice it to say that it's summed up by the word "typical." Commonplace is the ending. And commonplace is somewhere The Number 23 has no business being.

The rest of the film is a good one; a fine looking few rolls of celluloid, in fact. Jim Carrey plays the lead, still rounding off the sharper edges of his comedy and reminding us happily of Tom Hanks' move from comedy to drama. He's a hopelessly likable actor paired gracefully with Virginia Madsen, who plays Carrey's wife and mother to his teenage son. The family lives comfortably under Agatha's (Madsen) cake shop and Walter's (Carrey) job as an animal control officer. The paranoia enters like a whisper, as feckless and unassuming as director Joel Schumacher can stand.

The famously melodramatic director is often thought of as the second-string choice for any theatrical film-making, just behind the dramatic grandmaster Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!). Schumacher revels in colors and camera tricks, over-saturating and under-saturating his images until they're hardly recognizable. The effect here is controlled, but not empty of pizazz.

The book Agatha finds (or does it find her?) when waiting for Walter outside a used bookshop is "The Number 23" by Topsy Kretts. Walter opens the novel on his day off, gorging himself on the minutiae of its hardboiled detective hero and fantasizing himself in the lead role. Schumacher indulges Walter further, fancying "The Number 23's" Detective Fingerling as a slippery-haired Mr. Carrey in a cheap suit and a dry growl. Much of the story is actually told within the novel itself, with Fingerling getting lost in the numerology surrounding the number 23 and slipping towards the inevitability of murder. Back in reality, Walter is finding uncanny resemblances between Fingerling and himself. It's as if, he once mentions, the author knows him better than he does. Agatha writes it off as an effect of good literature, but reconsiders when she finds scribbled numerology on Walter's arm one morning with the underlined words "Kill Her." He's begun to see the number everywhere. It's in his name, his social security number, his birth date, and even the day he and Agatha first met. His paranoia, once a whisper, is now a screech, and he worries for the safety of his own family.

Stop there. Just stop the film, put down your popcorn and walk away. Because that's as good as The Number 23 will get. The bouncy humor, the family drama, the rise in paranoia, the fascination in 23, it all works up until here. But it's as if Screenwriter Fernley Phillips lost the thread. It was unraveling with speed and machismo, promising to tower upwards in a great final disturbance. But instead it turned inward and ricocheted blindly backwards. Instead of opening up the throttle and letting the number have real meaning and significance, Phillips turns the plot inward and shells up the climax with a muffled grunt.

Samuel Osborn

Reviewed by Simmy41 7 / 10

Just because you're paranoid....

9/11 2001, 9+11+2+1= 23, JFK was killed on November 22, 1963 2+2=4 and 1+9+6+3=19 and 19+4= 23, Caesar was stabbed 23 times, and so on so forth.

Whether you think it's a coincidence or not it's still pretty cool and Joel Schumacher's the Number 23 wouldn't have been half as interesting without his knowledge.

The film follows Walter (Jim Carey) as his life starts to be consumed paranoia as he claims the number 23 is haunting him. He comes to this conclusion whilst reading a book, the Number 23 which he draws parallels with the main character's upbringing and his own childhood. The only problem being, said main character a detective Fingerling kills his lovely girlfriend. As everything in the book already mirrors Walters past, why shouldn't it mirror his future also? Worried that he'll kill his wife, Walter attempts to track down the author before it's too late.

Though it's easy to throw insults at Schumacher (Batman and Robin anyone?) he is good at thrillers being at the helm of Falling Down and Phone Booth. Here he delivers again. True, the ending may be a little drawn out and may not be to everyone's taste, however Carey's performance is once again proof that the rubber faced actor can indeed, well…act. It's just a shame that with every serious performance by Carey, critics scrutinise his performance because it isn't comedy. Have they seen the Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine….people? Carey can act. And Schumacher can direct, the only problem here is the plot isn't that strong, with the twist maybe feeling a little anticlimactic. Still it's an enjoyable film and may have you looking for the number 23 yourself when you leave the cinema.

Reviewed by phoenix_slayer2001 10 / 10

A Great Surprise!

After reading many of the reviews on here I had doubts about this movie. As I watched and the end was clearly in sight I was worried because many reviews on here said the ending was the worst part. However, in my surprised amazement it worked quite well. I liked how the movie doesn't seem to have a single plot as the movie rolls on, but I thought this is what made it great, keeping you guessing all the time.

Another great thing was the characters had very well defined personae. Each approaching the story with different views and not always doing the predictable thing.

What makes this movie even greater is the fact that it had such poor reviews because when you go to see a movie with high expectations and it doesn't live up to them it will always render a poor personal rating of the movie, but when the movie is given bad reviews or is overlooked and turns out well it seems much better.

Though the movie was quite good, it will probably have little affect on Jim Carrey's career simply because it is not his typical role and it is unlikely he will land another role like this one in a movie that is just as good.

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