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The Number 23

A movie starring Jim Carrey

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3 stars: Obsession is a dark emotion that can destroy a person's soul....

  • May 11, 2010
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Obsession is a disease, a dark fleeting sensation that can drive one person to do things that they normally would not do, driving the individual to the brink of insanity that can destroy the person’s life and turn them into a monster. In Joel Schumacher's grim psychological noir delves deep into  the physical and mental damage of how  one man's obsession  almost  destroyed everyone he loved and cared for and how he suffers at the hands of  a decade old  mystery  that  seem to be connected to  a single number, "The Number 23". However, will his quest for the truth lead him to the answer he wants or take him down a dark path from which there is no return. This film has created such a strong air of mystery and a grim atmosphere around the plot and story of the film that while you are watching it sucks you into this dark world of dreams, desire and compulsive obsession. However, be warned if you are not careful this films obsession could become yours as well. 




Joel  Schumacher's  "The Number 23"  is another one of those films that I heard of  some years ago  mainly around the time it was making it's run in theaters I was much younger than and the films story did not  really appeal to me. In addition, after I heard of what extremely poor reviews it received I stayed away from this film, I stayed far away. After almost  three years  since this film  theatrical run I finally became interested enough to see it after watching a documentary about this film 23 enigma and  how the number can appear almost anywhere you look, it was very strange but intriguing enough for me to  stop what I was doing and sit down to  see this film. Joel Schumacher has created a world of chaotic and macabre fantasy put into a box and wrapped up like a nice little Christmas present in a beautiful wrapping paper and a nice little red bow. But what is inside is not what you expect or could imagine for that matter, it’s like taking a hallucinogenic and having these weird visions and nightmares appear right before you in vivid detail were every single vision and every single piece of your nightmare can hurt you if you’re not careful. Schumacher is brilliant at not only masking the shocking revelation and truth to the mystery at the climax of the film but also telling a very vibrant and engaging story of one man’s struggle against his own darkness. It works so much better than it should and plays out allot smoother and darker than you would hope for and proves that Joel Schumacher may not be the best of directors   but he does know how to make one hell of a movie.




I liked the dark nature of this film; I liked how it set itself firmly in reality and then shifts between two points between the story of Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey) and the fictional reality of the grim detective Fingerling (Also Jim Carrey) both are in some strange way connected to one thing, the number 23. The whole films plot revolves around that single number and our hero, Walter Sparrow is trying desperately to find the answers to his question. What is the meaning of twenty-three? The whole film is based on just that number and the multiple meanings it can have and Schumacher plays this out  fully never leaving the audience with a fleeting question at the end or leaving them to figure out the whole film themselves as most films of this caliber do. What I did not like about this film was the uneven pace; the film just could not quite find a beat to stick with   on top of it all the solid ending, intriguing   setup, Carrey’s performance and   Joel Schumacher's direction save this film from crumbling under the weight of the premise thus elevating this film far above its pedigree.




Jim Carrey is best known for his zany and wild comedic performances and not much else. But over the years Carrey has proven to be a sharp dramatic actor in a number of films  such as "The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"(2004)," Man on the Moon"(2000)(Which is a mixture of both comedy and drama), "The Majestic"(2001) and "The Truman Show"(1998). But here Carrey using a side of himself  that I didn't even know he had, his dark side, Carrey taps into unrelated territory for himself    and elves deep into his inner core to find a  more sinister side to himself (And I'm not talking "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" sinister). He brings all he has got to the table in order to make this role work and help make the film work. Carrey doesn't completely succeed in his role he falters due to the lack of his inexperience with this genre but the film's premise saves him and   Joel Schumacher helps him elevate his performance from average to good. The rest of the cast including Rhona Mitra, Logan Lerman, Lynn Collins, Virginia Madsen and Danny Houston all deliver good supporting performance in a film that seems to become the audience’s obsession. 



"The Number 23" is not a film everyone will agree with or even find time to see it will be mostly overlooked by fans of Carrey hoping for a comedic performance and will be shunned by others. This film does not ask for your forgiveness  and it does not need it  all that it ask is you watch it with an open mind and see it for what it is an engaging, mind-bending psychological noir.

Obsession is a dark emotion that can destroy a person's soul....

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October 21, 2010
Great review, I thought this one was good as well.
November 26, 2010
Thank you very much. This is a highly underrated movie and it is in fact one of Jim Carrey's darkest performances.
More The Number 23 reviews
review by . December 05, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
* out of ****      If you read my review for "The Lost Boys", then you'll remember that at the end of my review, I said, "Thanks Joel Schumacher. But I still hate you." Why did I say this? Well, take a good look at "The Number 23", which is directed by Schumacher, and you'll see why. There is indeed such thing as the 23 Enigma, but that doesn't make the film any better. Rather than substance (or even style), "The Number 23" …
Quick Tip by . June 10, 2010
Great movie! I thought it was more of a thriller, I liked the twists and turns in the movie and the ending was great! I recommend this movie to any type of movie watcher!
Quick Tip by . May 11, 2010
A dark, disturbing psychological noir that raises potent and daring questions about the damage and cause of obsession.
review by . March 13, 2009
Pros: none for me     Cons: I like numbers but not these     The Bottom Line:   “I can’t walk  Cannot run  I can’t seem to hide  The place I’m looking for  Lye’s behind the door  In room twenty three”  ~Neue Regel     Five minutes into the movie The Number 23 and I’m ready to insert sharp objects under my fingernails. I’ll …
review by . February 10, 2008
Pros: Imaginative story line that play on the human predisposition for superstition.      Cons: Convoluted at times; poor script; less than able direction.     The Bottom Line: In the end The Number 23 is a mildly entertaining movie that lacked a cohesive script and able direction.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. We humans have a predilection for superstition; lets fact it religion is build …
review by . August 30, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Maybe it was to be expected that Schumacher, who hasn't really made a very satisfying film since the mid 90s, would gravitate to material like this that would at least allow him some time to exercise his 'weird' directorial chops. And really, there is some potential in this as well; Carrey's dog-catcher protagonist is given a book on his birthday (which is on 2/3) called the Number 23, which deals with a sax-playing detective with a dark past who gets involved with an even darker, more sadistic …
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C.R. Lopez ()
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Member Since: Nov 6, 2009
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In Joel Schumacher's psychological thriller THE NUMBER 23, Jim Carrey takes on another dramatic role. Carrey's character is similar to his roles in THE TRUMAN SHOW and ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND: he portrays an average man thrust into quite extraordinary situations after a series of strange events cause him to question everything he's ever taken for granted. On his birthday, Walter Sparrow is given a mysterious and tattered book called THE NUMBER 23 by his loving wife, Agatha (Virginia Madsen). As Walter reads the book, he quickly notices its alarming similarities to his own life. Rather than stop reading, he continues, unknowingly inviting the book to take over his life. The deeper Walter gets into the plot, the more he sees himself in its protagonist, Fingerling, whom we see through highly stylized sequences in which Carrey appears as the seedy detective character. Madsen is also present in these scenes, cast as Fingerling's pain-loving girlfriend Fabrizia. As Fingerling and Fabrizia's love...
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Director: Joel Schumacher
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: February 23, 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Fernley Phillips
DVD Release Date: July 24, 2007
Runtime: 1hr 37min
Studio: New Line Home Video
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