Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

The Number 23

USA 2007
Directed by
Joel Schumacher
98 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bruce Paterson
1 stars

The Number 23

Synopsis: A suspense story about a man who reads a book, apparently about himself, and becomes obsessed with the number 23.

The Number 23 is a movie that wearies the soul. A movie where the pitch about the plot twist sounded ‘kewl’ but no-one asked how the script might credibly get to the twist, much less get away from it.

It’s not the actors’ fault. Jim Carrey has ability n a well-written drama (Eternal Sunshine…The Truman Show) or even undemanding but entertaining comedy fsre like The Mask and Ace Ventura he has an appealing loping animal energy. The Number 23 drops various dumb references to Carrey’s previous films, but does little to tap his potential. The best it can do is provide brief scenes of Carrey’s character imagining himself as a brooding noir detective; and that’s a story I would have much preferred to see. on the other hand Virginia Madsen does a great job as the wife and mother struggling with the new obsession of her husband; not to mention as the fantasy companion of the  detective.

But the script. Oh, the script. The whole ‘23’ debacle is a reference to the ’23 enigma’, a Discordian belief that all incidents and events are somehow connected to the number 23. Trust me, after 98 (23 x 3 + 2 omg!) minutes of this you will want to start throwing things. It all takes itself so seriously, omitting to mention that the obsession seems largely based on a parody religion founded in the 1950s by Malaclypse the Younger (aka Greg Hill).

The film makes some reference to the interesting idea that the mind has power to perceive ‘truth’ in anything; but you still have to cope with the other 97 minutes. These minutes could have been spent on an interesting tale of apothenia, the experience of seeing patterns or connections in randomness, or the consequences of madness… but they aren’t. Far too many of them are spent trying to unwind the unbelievable plot twist in laborious detail instead.

"You may be sure that your sin will find you out."
Numbers: 32:23

You have been warned.




Want more about this film?

search youtube  search wikipedia  

Want something different?

random vintage best worst