The Number 23 Movie Review

The Number 23

People have been obsessed with numbers since the beginning of time. The number three for example is engrained in everything from a joke, to a story, to life. Dramatists say that the number is just part of how the human brain functions. It’s how we structure our thoughts, in three acts – a beginning, middle, and end. Even the Bible has a number obsession.

The Number 23Starring: Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Danny Huston, Rhona Mitra, Logan Lerman
Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Release Date: February 23rd, 2007
Genres: Thriller
Running Time: 95 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for violence, disturbing images, sexuality and language.
Distributors: New Line Cinema

But the number 23 is an obsession of conspiracy theory nuts around the world. Does it really appear everywhere, or is it just merely a coincidence? If we were to explore the occurrences of another number, would we find the same thing? Does the mere hunt become a self fulfilling prophecy? Without googling the phenomenon, I assume that 23 occurs more often because of some mathematical reasoning.

Chip Denman once said, “Luck is probability taken personally.” (A quotation I discovered was incorrectly attributed to Penn Jillette.) One could probably say the same thing about fate, and the reoccurrence of the number 23. It’s not much more than a expected coincidence.

But having said all of that, I was born on November 12th. Eleven plus Twelve equals 23. You can even add it by divsor (1+1=2 / 1+2=3, so 2/3). I screened The Number 23 on February 12th. Add it up and you get the number 23. Even September 11th 2001 adds up to the number 23.

The movie follows Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey), a guy who becomes obsessed with The Number 23, a mysterious novel which perpetrates his number 23 obsession and somehow closely resembles his childhood years. But what does it all mean?

It means: don’t see this movie. It’s a bunch of interesting ideas, which are thrown together to create a less than compelling film. With a little more development, and the right creative minds, a great movie could have been produced. I can only imagine what Charlie Kaufman’s take would have been, or how Michel Gondry would have directed a better climax. But instead we are left with a bad Joel Schumacher film. And as you know, his bad films are really bad (Batman and Robin).

The Number 23 Schumacher takes some cues from Michael Mann and David Fincher, instilling style for almost no reason into every frame of the movie. In this movie he’s going for the dark and dirty look, but it seems forced and unneeded. The Number 23 feels too polished, unsure of what it is or wants to be. And there is nothing worse than something that is trying to be both edgy and accessible at the same time. It’s a contradiction that results in some of the worst artistic creations of al time. I imagine it’s something like Christian Gangsta Rap, if that even exists.

When you peel back the wallpaper, the only thing you’ll find is a truncated story about obsession and conspiracy, which is badly executed on almost every level. The film ends in a finale of ridiculous shocking twists that would even have M. Night Shaymalan embarrassed.

/Film Rating: 3 out of 10

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About the Author

Peter Sciretta is a film geek and popcultured fanboy living in Los Angeles. He created /Film in 2005.

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