Written by Fernley Phillips
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Running Time: 1:37
for violence, disturbing images,
sexuality and language.
The Number 23 was a well acted, good looking movie that was solid right up until the very end.
Walter Sparrow is a simple, happy animal control expert. One day he's late in meeting his wife, and this leads him down a path of madness. She gives him a book which describes how the number 23 has driven a man insane. Walter sees himself in the main character and soon becomes just as obsessed over the number, and how it seemingly works into his every day life. He is determined to find out who the author is and find out why this number is so powerful. Through it all, Walter becomes more and more deranged, until he learns the final secret that lies within the walls of an old, broken-down hotel. It is a secret that has been buried for 15 years.
I'm generally a pretty big Jim Carrey fan, even when he leaves his trademark goofiness behind. The Number 23 is very different from any role he's played before and he did an admirable job. At first he looks like his normal, goofy self as he torments a dog by pretending to be a cat. But as the movie progresses, you really see a dark side come out of him. He plays dual characters in the film, and while the second character could have easily gone off into warped land, Carrey never breaks character. I sort of kept waiting for an Ace Ventura-esque 'Allllrighty then' to break out, but it never did. While he wouldn't be the first person I'd think of for this role (strangely, I kept thinking about John Cusack) he worked hard and it paid off.
The rest of the cast stayed right alongside Carrey and helped support him. Which is I suppose why they'd be called a supporting cast. The story was always right on the edge of creepy. Almost from the start, with the voiceovers and the music underneath, the tone of the film was set. It never let up from that tone, even when once in a while a humorous moment would pop up. Visually, the movie was very entertaining. It was very dark and mysterious, and every time we entered into the 'other' world, the film took on a new age noir look that I really enjoyed.
There were some problems with the film. For one, there was this dog that kept showing up. Now, I understand the purpose of the dog and how it was used in the film, but the problem is that they kept going back to him too much. And each time they did, he'd be sitting in the same position, looking kind of funny. After a while, the eeriness that he was supposed to have went away and he instead turned into a kind of a joke. It would ruin the flow and feel of the movie, especially towards the end, which was a bad time to lose momentum. Then of course, there was the ending of the film. I won't give it away, but up until the revelation, I really had no idea where the movie was headed. In some ways, that's a good sign because it means it was very well written. In other ways, it's a bad sign because it means the ending was going to be tacked on and not make any sense. To me, this ending fell kind of in between. It was plausible, but did sort of feel like it came out of left field. While I'm not sure it hurts the movie tremendously, considering I'm still thinking about it, it could have been stronger.
All that being said, the movie did a really good job at keeping me entertaining. Ever since I left the theater, I've been looking for the number 23. It's amazing how often it can show up. Do I honestly believe that it's some kind of special number? No, not likely. For every time you see the number 23 in something, you could probably also find the number 34 or 12. But I don't think the point of the movie was this particular number, I think it was more about how something very small and insignificant can suddenly become overpowering and can lead even the nicest person into a singular obsession. And in that respect, the movie held my interest throughout.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I enjoyed The Number 23. I always love Jim Carrey in pretty much anything he does, and while this may not be a typical Carrey movie, he's a pretty strong actor and did a great job. I got completely sucked into the movie and here's the kicker... My street address is 407. 4+0+7=11. I live on the 19th floor. 1+9=10. My apartment is B. The numerical equivalent of B is 2. 4+0+7+1+9+2=... 23!
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