The Number 23 (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner21/02/2007

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 98 mins

Patchy thriller that has the occasional lively moment but is mostly confusing, tedious nonsense.

What's it all about?
Directed by Joel Schumacher, The Number 23 stars Jim Carrey as Walter Sparrow, a dog catcher who becomes obsessed with the number 23 after receiving a mysterious novel from his wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen, who deserves better) as a birthday present. The book depicts a chilling murder mystery and the main character, Fingerling (also played by Carrey) seems to reflect Walter's life in disturbing ways.

As Walter becomes more and more obsessed with both the book and the number, he becomes convinced that he is damned to commit the same crime as Fingerling and he fears for the safety of both Agatha and his teenage son (Logan Lerman).

The Good
Carrey's an extremely watchable actor and he does his best with the material, although the most amusing thing about his performance is the contrast in hairstyles between Walter's shaggy mop and Fingerling's Ace Ventura-style quiff.

The film is at its most enjoyable when it's telling Fingerling's story, to the point where you'll find yourself wishing you were watching that movie instead. Carrey's deadpan delivery during the Suicide Blonde scene (I'll be honest, I didn't get it…) provides the film's only laughs and it's a shame this tongue-in-cheek approach didn't extend to the rest of the movie.

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is that it's never really tense or scary enough and the sight of Walter repeatedly discovering the presence of the number 23 just gets more and more tedious. Similarly, the plot starts out ridiculous and gets increasingly worse as it goes on, so that by the time the inevitable twist arrives you'll have ceased to care.

In addition, Schumacher's direction is unforgivably bad in places, with entire scenes shrouded in darkness and several confusingly shot sequences.

Worth seeing?
The Number 23 is something of a disappointment, despite the occasional decent moment. Rent the vaguely similar White Noise 2 instead.

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Content updated: 20/04/2019 23:54

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