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3.3 out of 5 stars
Number 23 [Blu-ray] [2009] [US Import]
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Jim Carrey plays Walter Sparrow, a man whose surburban wife-'n'-teenage-kid life begins to unravel when he comes into contact with a mysterious book which carries the title of the film: Number 23. The tatty, self-published novel triggers a feverish numerological obsession in Sparrow, who begins to see associations with the number everywhere he looks. The more he reads, the more he becomes drawn into the gloomy, seedy world of the book's author, with whom Sparrow identifies heavily. Moreover, it becomes apparent that the book's author is not just an author of a disturbing book, but that he or she was involved in a grizzly crime.

The film culminates in a confusing whodunnit/goose-chase. I've seen the 'unexpected twist' of who the culprit is so many times in other recent films that I remember commenting on it before having seen Number 23. If that's a spoiler, then the film-making studios are to blame for overusing this particular trendy theme to a ludicrous degree. I can't imagine I'm the only one who thought "not again!"

I find numerology to be laughable nonsense, but moments in this film left me with genuine unease as Sparrow continued his downwards mental spiral in pursuit of the number. There are some splendid pieces of camera work and general cinema wizardry in this film, particularly the clever juxtapositions of Sparrow's bright and orderly life and the shadowy, grimy world that the book reveals to him. There is an element of style over substance in Number 23, though. It never grounds itself long enough to become, if not believable, than at least a world in which the viewer can become immersed.

Carrey has come a long way since his Mask and Ace Ventura days. He's successfully left behind the endless aping and gurning that put a lot of people off in his early days, without sacrificing the energy and screen presence that make his material infectiously watchable. Long may the man behind the Mask continue to develop and flourish. Although he might seem like an odd choice for a noirish film like this, his performance as the character increasingly tormented by the ever-present number is just the ticket.

Good for Carrey and visuals, but generally forgettable otherwise.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 10 July 2012
Please remove the Amazon review of this film from the website, as it contains a spoiler on the first line! Unbelievable...!

Plus, the review is unfair to a film which is really not that bad... Although it will not rank among the top thrillers of all time, it is certainly above average and has a rather clever script, with interesting twists. Jim Carrey turns out a good performance, demonstrating that he can act, although he only does it in one out of ten movies he makes... a pity.

The downside of this film is that it does stumble on a few typical Hollywood thriller clichés: going alone into abandoned houses in the middle of the night, rather than waiting for daylight or asking someone to join you; police staff and psychiatrists are portrayed as the dumbest people you've ever met; etc.

Still, the film is entertaining as a thriller, better than most of the trash being put out these days.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is an entertaining slice of hokum from Jim Carrey and director Joel Schumacher. Carrey plays an ordinary boke who happens across a book. Whoever wrote the book seems to know an awful lot about Carrey's life, and he soon becomes obsessed with the paranoid idea that the book is about him. The book centres on a character (also played by Carrey) who is so obsessed with a number - 23 - that it leads him to murder. Carrey soon becomes similarly obsessed, managing to translate everything in life to the number 23. We follow him as he slowly descends into paranoid loopiness and struggles to find reality.

It's a film with the odd twist and turn, but nothing too surprising. It hinges on Carrey, and he turns in a pretty good performance. I like Carrey best when he is playing it straight, and this blend of everyman and nutcase suits him to a tee. He is the best thing about the film by a mile. The plot has a few holes in it, and those with overly logical minds will find fault with a few things, such as the obsession with 23. Why not continue to add the digits to get 5, or multiply them to get 6, thus reducing it to a single digit and reaching the logical conclusion of the number game? It makes no sense to just stop at 23, but then I suppose that sort of irrationality by definition is nonsensical.

It's a decent and watchable thriller worth 4 stars right up to the end, where it just falls apart a bit. The director takes too long over it, tacking on scene after scene to tidy everything up after the main revelation. This drags the film past its natural life. I felt that just cutting it after the main revelation and leaving a few questions unanswered and ambiguous would have made it a much stronger film. As it is, the last 10 minutes really drag. SO another star lost for that, making it 3 in total. Actually I was torn between 2-3 stars...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2007
i saw this film in the cinema and did think it was pretty damn good!
just finished watching it on dvd (which we all know is a different experience) and im glad that its still a really good film! i never really listen to film reviews in magazines and things because they all follow a trend.. as soon as one says a films bad, the rest follow! this film did NOT deserve the reviews it got! i didnt know if i was going to like it at first.. it sort of reminded me of the butterfly effect (which is possibly one of the worst films in history..) and it lucky changed course
jim carrey is AMAZING
and i think everyone should watch this film at least once it really is a good one :)
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2007
I have to admit, my expectation's were pretty low for this flick.The reviews have been pretty scathing, and as it's director was Joel Schumacher, who brought us the pretty lamentable 'Batman And Robin' and '8mm', I really had my reservations. Well what a surprise, 'The Number 23' turned out to be quite an engaging thriller with a pretty smart script.

Jim Carey stars as Walter Sparrow, who on his birthday is bought a book which soon takes over his life ,as becomes obsessed by the similarities the number 23 encompasses.Carey is an actor I have a lot of time for, not only in comedy but time and time again in more 'demanding' roles such as 'Man On The Moon', 'The Truman Show' and 'Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind'.Here again he holds his own with fine support from Virginia Madsen as his wife and Logan Lerman as their son Robin.

The twist is very clever and fairly believable and rounds of what was a very decent and quite unfairly criticised film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Leaving aside the fact that you can do anything you like with numbers (for example as I'm typing, the time is currently 18:45 - 1+8=9, 4+5 =9 as well! two nines! 9+9=18, and 1+8=9 as well! Oh no!! The number 9 is after me, better call the cops - 999! Oh no!) as it is of course a fantasy film, there are some problems which disrupted my enjoyment of it. Firstly it's all so convoluted that the second half of the film is mostly a necessary narration explaining the first . Carrey's character's behaviour is sometimes hard to believe, he got sucked into the book and the number 23 obssession way too quickly in my opinion. Much of the film is concerned with stylised dream-like flashback sequences that were filmed in near-darkness, which for an old git like me lost their edge because of it.

When a director goes about wanting to make a story confused and muddled, they need to be clever enough to give that impression without actually losing their audience (see the excellent film "Memento" for an example of this technique working at its best). Wheras in the number 23 I did start rolling my eyes (grave-digging scene and subsequent revelations) and looking at my watch once or twice. This SHOULD be the type of film that's right up my street, but in its flashy darkness, it kind of lost me somewhere.

It is an enjoyable film and it does have good points of course, I just fear that they were submerged a little in the mess; the true identity of the guy in prison, and some of the little twists and turns were nice.

It's now 18:59 by my computer clock: 1+8 = 9, 5+9 = 14.
9+14 = oh dear ...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2007
When I go to the cinema I want to feel involved in the film I've paid good money to view, I want to be surprised more often than I'm proved right by conventional story-telling and I want to be drawn into a story by charismatic and multi-faceted characters. I don't know about you, but for me this isn't a very common occurrence. The American film industry has become obsessed with profit and as a result films have become every-day and predictable, ideas are re-hashed, characters are walking stereotypes, films fit squarely into one genre and rarely attempt to take risks with original thinking. I know there are quite a few people who found `The Number 23' frustrating and who say they foresaw the ending, but all I can say is that I'm not one of those people and as I consider myself reasonably intelligent, I can say with some confidence that most viewers will not be expecting the denouement of the film.

This film ticked all the boxes for me as a film-goer when I went to see it at the cinema. The story is original, the direction is very stylised, the plot has twists and turns that are gripping throughout and the characters are sympathetic without being simplistic, but most importantly...this is a film that lingers in the memory and is not something so forgettable that you struggle to recall major plot details ten minutes after the film has ended. The significance and possible applications of a single number in our everyday lives may not be to everyone's tastes, but I maintain that it's an original story device and while undoubtedly a 'popcorn' movie, this is still intelligent and imaginative viewing.

Unfortunately, I think the film does lose quite a bit of its power on the second viewing on the small screen, but don't let that deter you if you've yet to see `The Number 23', it's very worthy of at least one viewing for something daring enough to be different and side-step the average thriller conventions. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 12 August 2013
Director Joel Schumacher is known for his visual flair on a number of films (Lost boys, Flatliners for example) and here he does it again with a twisty thriller about a family man and professional animal catcher who starts to go slightly crazy after reading a book his wife gives him for his birthday.

So visually it's as stylish as one would expect from the flashy if hit and miss director.

Sadly whilst the initial first half set up is well done, this film ravels out of control plot wise, and leads to the typical Hollywood twist after twist ending.

Jim Carrey is good in the lead, doing a straight role for a change, playing a man slowly going crazy, but it's sadly only a reasonable film, and not quite the clever physiological thriller it could have been, but at least the plot is all answered in the final scenes.

If you like films like Fight club or The Machinist, this has a similar story arc, where all is not what it seems, but becomes evident in the few final scenes and whilst not as good as those is worth a watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2009
Not a great film. The directing seems somehow off. Reasonably okay to watch, though.

What made it much worse was the fact that Amazon's main review, by Trinie Dalton, completely and utterly (in the first line) gave away the story! Unbelievable!!
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on 11 December 2010
"Number 23" is a thriller starring Jim Carrey and Virginia Madsen.

The plot revolves around a certain Walter Sparrow, who finds out that a novel his wife has given him as a birthday present seems to be about his own life! Unfortunately, the main character of the novel is a murderer with a strange obsession with the number 23. Naturally, Sparrow also develops the same obsession. As the plot thickens, it seems that a real murderer is on the loose, and that somebody very close to Sparrow himself wrote the novel. Before he goes completely insane, Sparrow has to find the real killer, reveal the author of the mysterious novel, and get rid of his paranoid obsession with 23...

I agree with many other reviewers that "Number 23" could have been much, much better. It's not the best movie around the block. Still, it's surprisingly tolerable. Also, the concept is interesting and contains several unexpected twists and turns. At first, I was annoyed by Jim Carrey, who is really a comic actor. However, he is quite good at portraying a paranoiac - at least a Hollywood stereotype paranoiac.

My main problem with "Number 23" are the loose ends and illogical situations. I didn't understand what on earth the dog named Ned has to do with the plot! Since the murder Sparrow is investigating took place 13 years earlier, it can't possibly be the same dog. Dogs don't live that long...

However, if you can swallow these kinds of inconveniences, you might nevertheless find "Number 23" interesting.

According to Wikipedia, there actually are conspiracy theorists who believe that the number 23 has esoteric significance. It does not. THE REAL SECRET NUMBER IS 666.

:-o

Kidding.
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