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The Number 23 (DVD)

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Genre: Crime & Thriller - Thriller / Theatrical Release: 2007 / Director: Joel Schumacher / Actors: Virginia Madsen, Danny Huston ... / DVD released 23 July, 2007 at Entertainment in Video / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, PAL

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    20 Reviews
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      20.03.2013 18:20
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      Could be good, but isn't!

      RELEASED: 2007, Cert. 15

      RUNNING TIME: Approx. 100 mins

      DIRECTOR: Joel Schumacher

      PRODUCERS: Beau Flynn & Tripp Vinson

      SCREENPLAY: Fernley Philips

      MUSIC: Harry Gregson-Williams

      MAIN CAST:-

      Jim Carrey as Walter Sparrow (Fingerling)
      Virginia Madsen as Agatha Sparrow (Fabrizia)
      Logan Leman as Robin Sparrow

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      FILM ONLY REVIEW

      Walter Sparrow, a dog-catcher by profession, is an ordinary family man until the day his wife gives him a book called The Number 23 for his birthday.

      As Walter gradually reads the book, he starts to identify strongly with its contents, and becomes obsessed with the number 23. Over the next few days, the number 23 rapidly gains greater significance for Walter, him seeing it everywhere and putting dark interpretations onto what the number means for him.

      Walter becomes increasingly disturbed, plagued by nightmares about his internalised meanings and consequences of the number 23, it seeming as if the book is a prophecy of the direction he believes his actions will result in.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Both the basic idea of The Number 23 as a film and the opening credits are quite good. Those credits flash up real incidences where the number 23 appears to have, if looked at in a certain way, some sort of significance (the one which stuck in my mind was Charles Manson's birth date), and the crux of the storyline is something which could be made into a tense, edge of your seat horror/thriller.

      However, such is not so in this case.

      The Number 23 comes across to me as a mish-mash of events which although they are connected, are conveyed in a loose, almost disassociated way. It also took me quite a while to work out what was real and what were Walter's dreams, so until the light of comprehension de-fogged my brain, I was rather confused.

      This is a bitty, scrappy film where the ongoing scenarios don't balance one another out evenly, taking the viewer (well, me as a viewer!) into a ball of confusion which felt like I was floundering in a maelstrom rather than enjoying a decent horror/thriller.

      It didn't help that the acting and screenplay are somewhat below par, although within the limitations of the film's structure as it stands, Jim Carrey didn't do a too bad job of taking on the male lead. He did convey some interesting expressions in his eyes during the more tense parts of the film, but his true acting ability didn't properly shine through for me due to a below par script. Logan Leman's role as Robin, Walter's son, probably wasn't all that demanding, so I can't really fault his acting too much, but Virginia Madsen came across to me as exceedingly wooden, her input lacking a depth which I feel should have been essential to her part.

      As far as the direction/production is concerned, I think too much emphasis was placed on hamming up the dream sequences in order to, I guess, create a mood of surrealism, but for me it just didn't work. I'd have preferred to see Walter's dreams presented in a more real-life way, as I believe that would have created a far more chilling atmosphere.

      In one way I feel that The Number 23 was too rushed, yet in other ways, stretches of the film dragged to the point where I was in big danger of completely losing interest altogether. It wasn't until the film was drawing to a close that I fully understood the whole point of the storyline, and even then I wasn't overly impressed. There is a sort of a twist, but in a very on the surface way, I kind of saw it coming and conclude that such would be extremely unlikely in real life. I can't really elaborate too much on that point, as it would count as a spoiler.

      The Number 23 is a film which - and I must say here before I forget that I had little or no awareness of the musical score - needs a lot of tidying up, and perhaps even a completely different approach to the way the storyline is presented. All the elements are there to create a decent psychological thriller/horror, but in this instance, it just comes across as a melee of disjointed madness rather than a well-constructed, intriguing and attention-grabbing film.

      I feel it is asking too much of a viewer of any film to have to do 99% of the work, but in the case of The Number 23, this is just how it is, in that I had to do a lot of sorting out within my arena of comprehension in order to make sense of what was going on.

      Nothing about The Number 23 particularly stunned or even entertained me, although as said, the potential is there for something much better were the whole thing handled differently. Maybe this is a film which would benefit from a re-make, and should that ever happen, I'd like to see whoever gets their hands on it ground the whole thing, steer away from the in vain attempts at surrealism, tidy up all the holes and scattered bits, pulling it together into something watchable. As it currently stands, it is a messy, scrappy film that seems to make far too much fuss about very little, until the almost obvious twist occurs.

      The Number 23 is screaming out to be directed by someone of similar calibre to, say, Alfred Hitchcock, as in the right hands it does have the capacity to be a rather good film....as it currently stands though, it is something which I know I'll easily forget.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      At the time of writing, The Number 23 can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-

      New: from £2.48 to £6.96
      Used: from 1p to £1.99

      Some items on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.

      Thanks for reading!

      ~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~

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        24.04.2011 20:19
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        A pretty good watch for thriller fans, if you can get past Jim Carrey, and his usual comedy roles

        The Number 23is an American thriller starring Jim Carey; it was rated '15' by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) and 'Restricted' by the MPAA (The Motion Picture Association of America). The film is available in two forms, the theatrical form and the unrated form (which this review is based upon), which contains more 'adult' content.

        Story

        The Number 23 is set in America with the lead actor, Jim Carrey, playing an stray animal capturer, whom starts off chasing a dog called Ned or "Nasty evil dog", as described by the man himself. After failing to catch the dog and being bitten, he remembers that he was supposed to meet with his wife, and now he's late.

        While he's been catching the dog, his wife has been browsing a book shop and has found a peculiar book. Self-printed, tatty and completely out of place, and it is entitled '_The Number 23_'. When Jim Carrey's character fails to heed the warning expressed at the beginning of the book '_If any of these characters bear resemblance to anyone, living or dead, please do not continue reading_', he begins to find more and more resemblances between the characters in the book and real life. This leads to him being more and more affected by the number that haunts the protagonist of the book, The Number 23.

        What did I think?

        I thought that the film was an adventurous take on a risky idea, and I praise everyone involved for trying to make a film out of it. Especially because of how well it worked. I think that this is one of the better thrillers I've seen. It's gripping throughout and it has so many interesting points in the story that even the biggest film conspiract would be satisfied. Overall, I'd say that I enjoyed the film a lot, and that I would watch it again.

        Characters and Performances

        This is Carrey's first dabble in the thriller genre, and he pulls it off fairly well. Despite his fairly good 'serious' acting, I found it hard not to remember his part in 'Yes Man' and, through no fault of his own, have a good laugh at some of the more memorable scenes of that movie. However, if you haven't seen any of Carey's previous movies, this will not be a problem for you.
        Each of the other main characters are well acted and are a respectable attempt at thriller characters. What's better, the characters aren't too stereotypical of the genre, meaning that it feels more fresh than some other, similar, movies: some of which would appear to be a simple rehash of their predecessors. However, with The Number 23, I could not find a reasonably similar origin that it would have been a clone of., in sense of character or plot.

        Value for Money

        While I would like to state that this is a review of only the Film, and not any additional DVD features. However, while the rewatchability of a film is entirely dependent on viewer taste, The Number 23 is a film that I would be able to watch again and again (but maybe not again after that). While it is a unique attempt at filmmaking, it's not something that shocks with plot turns every time you watch It, and it may not be compelling to all viewers. However, if you find it in the Bargain Bucket, then this is a perfect tension builder for a snoozy Saturday night (despite the fact that I watched this at 6a.m. on a Tuesday morning).

        Jim Scare-y?

        While it's not a traditional horror, The Number 23 does, on several times, manage to make my hairs stand on end or tie my stomach in knots with its tension, but it wasn't "jump out of your seat" scares at every moment, and the film depends almost entirely on its sense of suspense, rather than cheap 'jump-out' thrills, that are all too often relied on by similar films.

        I give this thriller, The Number 23 a scary rating of 3/5, meaning that it is of average scary-ness for the genre.

        Content Watch

        The Number 23 does, as expected, have some content that parents may not be too fond of their kids watching, or maybe you're just a little squeamish. Here's a rundown of the content.

        Violence

        *The menu screen has blood progressively drip all over the screen. We never see the source of the blood, and its obviously done for effect, as it has no correlation to the current events in the movie.

        * (Spoiler) A woman commits suicide by jumping out of a window, we don't see the results, other than the dead body for a brief moment (/spoiler)

        *There is a scene where a main character repeatedly stabs another characters (in the theatrical version, you only see one stab) and you see the dead character covered in blood (again, for a shorter period of time in the theatrical cut)

        *A character contemplates suicide.

        Sexual Content

        *In several fantasy sequences, two characters have sex (the scene is longer in the unrated edition, some sex scenes are cut from the theatrical edition).

        Fear

        *There are a few 'jump' scenes

        *Some tension throughout

        *The scenes relating to the book can be quite frightening.

        *Some of the scenes from the book dramatized could be viewed as unsettling or shocking

        *A man and a boy dig up a body from a grave. They are seen covered in mud, the dead body is seen.

        Language

        *Some, moderate (for example 'sh*t, b*stard)

        Content Conclusion

        I'd suggest that while this is suitable for its target audience of those fifteen and up, it could be argued that a particularly mature thirteen or fourteen year old could see this movie without any problems.

        Movie Conclusion

        This is a fantastic first thriller by Jim Carey, and the only thing letting it down for me is the fact that I have seen the actors in light-hearted comedies in much the same state, and therefore it feels odd to watch, however, I'm sure that this could be easily overlooked if you've never seen Carey in a comedy, and maybe even if you have.
        Other than that, it's an astoundingly good thriller that you should definitely see when you get the chance.

        I award The Number 23 a four out of five stars

        Copied from my Ciao account.

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        22.01.2010 13:14
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        Carey gets serious

        -Film Only Review-

        It seems in today's world more and more of us try to make sense and patterns of seemingly random and unrelated events and things, anything from the stars in the sky to dates of historical events to the geographical locations of old Woolworths stores (just check out this website for a bit of a laugh http://www.standupmaths.com/woolworths/.)


        Following in this theme we come to the film "The Number 23" starring the fantastic comedic talent of Jim Carey who takes on a much darker and almost sinister style role in this movie than we have previously seen in his others.


        What is The Number 23?

        The movie centres itself around Walter Sparrow played by Mr Carey himself a seemingly ordinary guy who spends his working life as a dog catcher. The story starts off with him being bought a copy of a rather old and tatty looking book by his wife entitled "The Number 23" the book contains a story about a character named "Fingerling" a saxophone playing detective who has an obsession with the meaning behind the number 23 and how the events in his life keep relating to it. As Carey's character becomes more engrossed in the book he too starts to notice the number 23 cropping up in the world around him more and more frequently, along with the striking similarities between himself as the main character in the book "Fingerling". From there we are taken on a journey with Walter as he tries to unravel just what the connection is between the book characters obsession with the accursed number and his own more frequent sights of the number in his everyday life.


        Just who is counting to 23?

        Walter Sparrow - Jim Carey

        Now obviously Jim Carey is best known for his comic roles, but personally I have enjoyed those parts in his movies where he has been just that little bit more serious for example in films like "Man on the Moon" and "The Majestic". So for me this was a real treat to see him doing something a little bit out of the box and off the well beaten track. His slightly zany side was still present and you kept expecting him to do something daft at any moment but in all, this seemed to add to the growing paranoia and insanity of the character.


        Agatha Sparrow - Virginia Madsen

        Virginia I feel has always been one of those vastly overlooked actress' who is able to perform a superb role no matter what the style of film is. For those of you amongst us who don't who see is just check out her rather small but fantastic roles in such films as "The Rainmaker" and my personal favourite film of all time "Dune" in which she starred as the Princess Irulan. In this film she does a stunning job of trying to bring balance to Carey's character as the number 23 takes a firm grip on him.


        Along with these two the cast also contains the likes of Danny Huston, who has just recently starred as Colonel Stryker in the X Men: Wolverine movie and Logan Lerman who has just starred with Gerard Butler in the Gamer and will be taking on the title role in the new film Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Both of these play their respective roles very well and give a lot off added background to the main characters of the film.


        For a full list of the cast from this film you can visit this web page:

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0481369/fullcredits


        Did I count to 23 also?

        Overall I found this film to be really rather enjoyable, the fact they have got such a notoriously funny guy to play the main part in this film is a great testimony to both the acting ability that Jim Carey possesses and also to Joel Schumacher for bringing Carey into such a role. The film itself does contain some graphic content within it and quite rightly deserves the rating of 15 that it has, this being said though the more gruesome content of the movie is not just there for shock value and is all kept within the boundaries of the film and never act as the be all and end all of the movie.


        The only thing that I found a little bit disturbing about the film is that you yourself then go on to start noticing the number 23 appearing as if by magic all over the place in fact I just noticed my son has just built a tower out of his Duplo using 23 bricks that's just freaking me out too much, I'm off.

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          24.11.2009 22:17
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          Avoid like the plague

          note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room

          Jim Carrey has proven with several dramatic roles - chiefly The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - that he can be serious as well as comic, and he's very much an actor who doesn't get enough credit for this. With The Number 23, he once again ventures into new territory, trying his hand at the thriller genre and being reunited with his Batman Forever director Joel Schumacher. Sadly, though, through no fault of Carrey's, the script means that this is a laughably bad film rather than engaging in any way.

          The film revolves around Walter Sparrow (Carrey), who is married to Agatha (Virginia Madsen), and together they have a son, Robin (Logan Lerman). Agatha is in a bookstore and she finds a book called The Number 23, written by the hilariously named Topsy Kretts (get it?), and when Walter reads it, he finds strange similarities to the main character in himself. It doesn't take a rocket scientist work out what happens, but the main hilarity comes from how serious the film is about the number 23 occuring everywhere, when most of the links are exceedingly tenuous.

          Even though I've given the film a low score, I'm probably still being generous due to Carrey's solid performance, among proof that he can convincingly pull off more serious (although that term is used loosely here) roles. What began as slightly promisingly quickly descends into a convoluted and contrived mish-mash of truly awful writing and viewer condescention. Carrey isn't as energetic as usual but then that's to be expected. For fans of Carrey or even those looking for a decent thriller, this is one to ensure you avoid.

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          26.01.2009 12:00
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          An excellent film from Jim Carrey, who proves he is more than a slap stick actor.

          When I heard Jim Carrey was starring in a thriller I wasn't sure he'd pull it off. He's one of the most comical men alive in my opinion and even when I've seen him talking seriously in interviews he just has one of those faces which looks like he's on the verge of telling a joke. Would this terribly amusing comic actor cope with playing a straight role in what was marketed as a gripping and intense thriller?

          Well, yes actually. I think he did rather well and carried the film practically single handed from beginning to end, when I say Jim Carrey is the main character I mean he is really the only character of any worth. He gets 90% of the screen time and although has a wife and son, they flit in and out of the picture with nothing of any real substance to add to the story. I'm getting ahead of myself and I'm sure you're wondering what on earth The Number 23 is about.

          It's an interesting concept actually, Walter Sparrow's wife buys him a book seemingly on a whim after Walter has a bad day at work. As soon as he starts reading the novel he starts to notice parallels between his life and that of the main character, as time goes on he finds himself obsessed with the novel and it begins to slowly unhinge his mind. He then fixates on the number '23' and allows it to rule his life; the letters in his name add up to 23 when broken down into individual numbers and added together, he lives at 32 which is a reversal of 23, he simply sees the number '23' in everything.

          The film basically follows the reactions of Walter to this novel and delves into the fragility of his mind, I found it quite disturbing in parts as Walters mental state continues its downward spiral. It's clever in that as Walter reads Jim Carrey will take on the second role of Fingerling, the character of the novel, and act out the plot of the novel. Fingerling is a very exaggerated character, living with a nymphomaniac they both favour long leather coats and days filled with danger and intrigue. Walter on the other hand leads a sedate life as a stray dog catcher, his only worries in life being why he allowed his wife to choose red for the living room wall.

          The Number 23 is rather tongue in cheek and this meant that Carrey didn't have to rein in his comic talents too much, his exaggerated facial expressions work well at the beginning when Walter begins to show his confusion at the situation and again when he becomes Fingerling his choppy mannerisms give the character the air of an evil genius. It's not as hard to take Carrey seriously as I'd worried it was going to be, he has a terrific presence on screen and even those people who hate him as an actor can't criticise his first attempt at a straight character. Actually Walter goes beyond straight with his life and attitudes becoming increasingly sinister as the film goes on, my son in law likened his character to that of a watered down Jack Torrance which I agree with to a certain extent although obviously Carrey lacks the terror inspiring looks of Jack Nicholson.

          The wife is instrumental in that she is the one who plays down Walters obsession with first the novel and then the number 23. Virginia Madsen was a good choice for Agatha Sparrow as she has a calmness which went perfectly with the jittery stressed out movements of her husband. Agatha has very little else to do in The Number 23 other than be a successful cake maker, wife and mother and although perhaps her character was underused, this was very likely deliberate as the fact that Carrey spends so much time alone is perfect for allowing him to develop his brooding character and for us viewers to bond with him alone.

          The script is very good and the writer knew exactly when to stop at each scene, this meant that I felt I needed to have a guess at what was coming next rather than have it all handed to me on a plate. By no means is The Number 23 one of those 'thinking' films because most aspects are well explained as and when they occur, but throughout the film there was the feeling of loose ends and theories not yet explored fully. Thank goodness they were mostly tied up nicely at the end of the film otherwise I think I would have become as mad as Walter trying to unravel all the different components!

          The film moves along very quickly, it's only 94 minutes long and I get the impression that they struggled to get the story into this rather short running time. I'm not a fan of overly long films but think The Number 23 could have benefited from an extra 20 minutes or so as I found the middle section of the film to be quite rushed and not terribly well explained. We dwell on the circumstances surrounding Walter acquiring the book and when the madness overtakes him we dwell again, but I think the period between this should have been better explored as the viewer never quite gets a handle on just why the novel affects him in the way it does. It seems that one minute Walter is simply a guy with a minor obsession with a story, and we all get like that to some extent, and the next he is a raving lunatic seeing monsters in shadows and daydreaming about murdering the wife he loves.

          All in all I thought this was a solid film, made all the more enjoyable for me because it stars one of my favourite actors. I have been trying to think since I watched it of another modern actor who could have pulled it off and the only one I can think who could have made this film his own as Carrey has is the wonderfully talented Ray Liotta, I think he would have made an excellent Walter with his brooding looks and own subtle brand of portraying madness. But then if he was Walter we wouldn't have been treated to the fabulous portrayal of Jim Carrey, I don't think I'll go in for a later life career as a casting agent then as I'm just too indecisive!

          The Number 23 has a rating of 15 because there is a little comic book style violence, some blood and a bit of sex all added into the mix. I must admit my granddaughters' have seen the film and at nine and twelve years they loved it, they are big fans of Jim Carrey anyway and their mum thought the film was appropriate for them so she allowed them to watch it. I can understand why it was given a 15 rating, but perhaps it was a little harsh as although the film is tense and gripping there's certainly nothing in there to give them nightmares! But then my granddaughters' are tough as old boots when it comes to films so you should leave it to your own judgement as to whether you let your youngsters watch it.

          A copy can be bought from Amazon for the bargain price of £4.80, I'm glad I bought my copy as I'm certain it's a film I'll watch again.

          If you like your DVD extras then there are plenty to be had at the end of the film, my favourite being the Making Of feature which went through the film with some interesting dialogue explaining how the concept of the film came about and how they created some of the more exciting scenes. There are also the uncut and theatrical versions of the film, as well as the usual deleted scene (which always seems pointless to me) and a rather uninteresting feature showing how the character of Fingerling was brought to life and tied in with the Walters situation.

          As well as these theatrical 'lovey' extras there is a brief introduction to numerology which focuses on the enigma of the number 23 and a lesson on how to track your own life's numbers, which is a rather bizarre addition to the DVD as it makes me wonder whether the makers are trying to turn us all into psychotic characters such as Walter ends up being!

          Oh, and if you watch this on DVD do have a look at your DVD players display as the haunting end credits move up the screen. You might just be in for a little surprise!

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            25.01.2009 11:34
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            A seemingly normal man randomly comes upon a book which changes his view of him and whats around him

            - Cast & Crew -

            http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0481369/fullcredits


            - Plot -

            Walter is an animal control officer who leads a pretty normal life, with a wife and son. However, one day his wife innocently mentions a book which he starts to read and the more he reads, the more he's left with the spooky feeling that its based on him and his past. The book is all about somebody who's controlled by the number 23, a number with evil symbollism, that he discovers has driven others to sheer madness. Can he escape the number, that seems to be everywhere in his life? was the book written about him? what does it all mean? you'll have to watch the movie to find out.


            - Genre/Type of Movie -

            This is a paranoid, somewhat conspiracy based thriller movie.


            - Thoughts & Opinions -

            This is at first certainly a fairly slow paced but gradually more intriguing thriller. There are quite a number of surreal scenes where it seems almost comic strip like with low lighting, thats used to recreate whats being read in the book, to bring what Walter sees from reading, to life. This surrealism really adds to the movies mystique.

            It doesn't take long for Walter to become obsessed with the book and it does draw you in as well, as coincidences (or are they?) with innocent things such as dates and places all noticeably adding up to that number, 23, or the reverse, 32, are found more often and become more personal.

            There is clearly a strong theme of paranoia which is mentioned during the movie, it is as an expert explains during the movie, a conspiracy theorists game, so to speak, which harks right back to the Bible, the significance or symbolism of the number. It is an eery and intriguing movie that while it doesn't move along at a really 'rip-roaring' speed as such, the story is slowly built upon and it does get more eery, as it does, there's enough intrigue and somewhat surprising scenes to keep your interest.

            The voice over thats present during most of the movie also adds to the suspense I felt, giving it quite a reflective, 'PI' type tone to it.

            It creeped me out a bit, given that my date of birth and zodiac sign are the same as Walters and as a child I admit I used to add up the numbers in words too, I don't know out of boredom sometimes, though I wasn't so obsessive I'd notice patterns with certain words adding up to the same numbers.

            Back to the movie and I thought Jim Carrey was a good choice to play the lead role, as he plays edgy characters well, with that glazed, almost manic facial expression and he can seem believably emotive and expressive, while his world is apparently becoming more and more hostile and sinister to him. I think he did quite well portraying such a deeply paranoid character.

            I felt that the movie had quite an 'indie' or cult status feel to it and as such its pretty good, though it certainly won't be to everyones tastes, it is very claustrophobic and its also worth mentioning that there are some rather gruesome, bloody crimes shown, scenes of bloodied bodies, which may well disturb some.

            I felt the real problem with this movie is that the plot is quite complicated. I thought I had been following it quite well but when the credits rolled, I couldn't help but feel a bit confused as to quite what had happened in real time overall, thinking about it, it can all get quite muddled in your head. Also, having thought it through, I can't help but wonder if it really makes much sense, the way in which he stumbled upon the book, given what you find out by the end of the movie, to me the start, if you think about it after having seen it, doesn't entirely make a great deal of sense, which is kind of frustrating.


            - Would I Recommend It? -

            If your into paranoid, complex thriller, or even indie maybe movies, then yes, I would just recommend it. It is quite a claustrophobic movie that slowly builds up plot wise but it pulls you in as a viewer and Carrey does well portraying such a scared and paranoid character, with some pretty creative cinematography, making it a watchable and intriguing movie overall, though I can't help but feel like I was left with quite a few questions and having to analyse what happened. You need your thinking cap on for it and its clearly not for the sceptically minded, it is I think partly flawed in a way but as a movie to intrigue, thrill and entertain, its not too bad.

            Thanks for reading my review and thanks for any and all r/r/c's. Please be aware that this review, as all my reviews may be, might be posted on both Dooyoo and Ciao UK under my username which is the same name on both sites (IzzyS). I'm also a member of Lovefilm with the same username where I post condensed versions of reviews of the movies I've rented from them.

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              03.12.2008 12:44
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              High Expectations Lead To A Sub Standard Film

              Here is a Joel Schumacher film released in 2007 and is the first time he has worked with Jim Carrey since he played the riddler in the hit and miss movie 'Batman Forever'. For me it was one of those films I really thought I would enjoy as it had a strange but distinctive plot and saw Jim Carrey going outside his comfort zone once again after the success of 'The Truman Show' and 'The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind'. Please read on to find out why 'The Number 23' was not a hit for me.


              CAST:

              Jim Carrey as Walter Sparrow / Fingerling
              Virginia Madsen as Agatha Sparrow / Fabrizia
              Logan Lerman as Robin Sparrow
              Danny Huston as Isaac French / Dr Miles Phoenix


              PLOT SUMMARY:

              As you can probably tell from the title, the plot of this books revolves around the number 23. Essentially it is about Walter Sparrow's wife buying him a book about the mystery of the number 23. So throughout reading it, he becomes captivated by the book and the number 23. He feels that everything in his life is evolving around this number and believes that the book is about himself. As the story goes on, he becomes more and more paranoid as he closes in on the author and the meaning of the number 23 and the story comes to a grinding halt.


              OPINION/MY VIEWING EXPERIENCE:

              As started earlier on in this review I really did feel that I would enjoy this movie, the problem here was that Schumacher tried to be too clever and overworked this film. It is a very watchable film but not a lot more than that. Schumacher in recent times has rebuilt his reputation from the batman and robin days with films like Phone Booth. This one is definitely not bad and there will be people out there who love this film, I just was not one of them. Jim Carrey was excellent once again, however the confusion with the story lets the movie down and at points it is very hard to tell what is going on, whether he is dreaming or it is reality and just really what is happening. The plot in the final acts of the movie really ruins the movie for me and with a little more time spent on the plot I feel 'The Number 23' was a missed opportunity.


              OVERALL/CONCLUSION

              A decent film and definitely one to watch out for. If you like to see Jim Carrey do something a bit different then his comedies then you should watch this. However this movie will not be winning any awards and do not expect anything in the same class as the 'Truman Show' or 'Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind'. The tag line is 'First it takes hold of your mind...then it takes hold of you life'. However one thing is for sure this will not be taking over anyone.

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                20.11.2008 23:03
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                a man who is persuate by the number 23

                The Mayans believed that the end of the world would be in 2012... 20 + 1 + 2 = 23. A man becomes obcessed with a book that looks like to tell all his life. But, the book finishes with a murder. The proper insistence of the script in placing number 23 in a supernatural way in all that surrounds the main personage sounds ridicule, and also when history directs for a common outcome, without demons or ghosts forces for backwards of everything. And if the script is already sufficient enough chaotic to the tram of the book with the craziness for the number 23 is when shuffling, and it pulls down of time when he reaches the third act and the Sparrow family starts to investigate the great mystery. And on it, the cool part is the discoveryment of the things with reach in number 23. That's my review. Just enjoy this movie and you will like it.

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                  11.10.2008 17:34
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                  one of Jim carreys best films

                  This movie was excellent. I wasn't too bothered about watching it at first as I cant really take Jim carrey seriously at times as I dont find him funny but this was great.
                  This psychological thriller had me thinking all the way through and the ending was great and unexpected.
                  The film is about a man who become obsessed with a book his wifes buys him and his whole life starts revolving around it. The author of the book talks about a man whos life revolves around the number 23 and Jim Carrey's characther starts to do the same. Everywhere he goes and any detail in his life he will come across the number 23. I think this is proberly one of the best films I have watched this year as it kept me guessing and I really cant praise the film anymore. Jim Carrey played a really great part.

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                    02.10.2008 23:24
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                    a good psychological thriller

                    This is a good psychological thriller about obsession and paranoia. Joel Schumacher did an excellent job with this film. I never would have thought Jim Carrey could pull a serious role like this off, but he did and was amazing. There was some subtle sarcasm from him in the beginning of the movie but the rest is all serious. He totally took his acting to another level in this film.

                    The Story:
                    Walter Sparrow is your average working man; he has a wife and a teen son. His life is good albeit a little boring. For his birthday his wife gives him a book written by an unknown author, titled "23", it is a mystery murder book with a detective turned killer obsessed with the number 23. The more Walter reads the book he starts noticing how much him and the Detective Fingerly (dumb name I know) have in common especially their childhoods. He is starting to obsess over the number as well and is determined to track down the books author and get the answers he is seeking.

                    My Opinion:
                    This movie is an edge of your seat psychological thriller. It always keeps you guessing and has a shocking unpredictable ending. This is what a good psychological thriller is supposed to be like. I really liked the ending but some might see it as drawn out. Jim proved that he is not just a funny guy but can also hold his own playing a serious role. This is darker than any of his previous movies. While the movie has some blood it is not gruesome. I almost did not watch this movie because it was slammed by a lot of critics, but I was really glad I did. Virgina Madsen did a good job as Walter's wife, and Logan Lerman did a good job as the son. This is an all around good movie and accomplished what it set out to do - Entertain! I definitely recommend this movie!

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                    30.09.2008 13:24
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                    psychological thriller for a good weekend picks

                    When I saw Jim Carey as the main character in this movie, I didn't believe that it was a psychological thriller movie. And when people said that Jim Carey played really well in this movie, I was a little bit skeptic and I watched this movie to prove that they were actually right.

                    The story is about a man who was obsessed with a book about the number 23, which his wife gave him as a present. He became freaked out because he started to see the number in every thing in his life, so he started to track back about the maker of the book, until he found out that the truth would be unexpected for him.

                    This movie has an amazing multi plots arranged well with some twist. It is too bad though, even Jim Carrey played really well with this non-slapstick movie, his character wasn't really strong so that many of his scenes are unmemorable.

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                      13.09.2008 20:57
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                      numbers rule our lives?

                      Starring Jim Carrey which to me is always a bad idea. He just can't play serious, he's far too annoying. Every scene he's trying to be intense you just can't take him seriously one iota. He plays an animal control officer who is bitten by a dog. His wife gives him a book for his birthday which has heavy symbolism of numerology based around the number 23.

                      He starts to find patterns in the book and in real life around him and thinks the book is about him. We follow his descent into madness and insanity as he reads the book and becomes obsessed with it's symbolism.

                      The pursuit of trying to find the truth behind the book and it's writer lead to the truly awful twists of this film which I won't spoil but they are pretty unexpected. The film drags on far too long getting from scene to scene, the resolution also takes far too long and isn't very satisfying when it is finally revealed.

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                      08.09.2008 22:28
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                      Not a rubbery face in sight

                      Jim Carrey once again shows his ability to play it straight in this psychological thriller. If you can get passed his normal comedy roles and take him seriously that is!

                      ~~Director~~

                      Directed by Joel Schumacher who's previous films include Flatliners, The Lost Boys, St Elmos Fire, and more recently Phone Booth.

                      ~~Titles~~

                      The film starts with the actors names etc flashing up on a typed manuscript along with numerous references to the number 23. Historical dates and events of disasters that have connections or add up to the number. This starts your mind thinking about how this can be before the film even starts.

                      ~~Storyline~~

                      Jims character is a dog catcher called Walter Sparrow whose wife Agatha buys him a tattered book for his birthday called 'The Number 23' The film then follows Walter as he reads the book. The film is narrated by Walter either explaining a situation or reading from the book. The film flips from his real life to footage from the book. This is where I found the film a little confusing. This is because Jim also plays the main character from the book Fingerling. As Walter progresses through the book he starts to find some things are similar to his own past and suspects the book has been written for him or about him.

                      The characters in the book are obsessed and paranoid about the number 23 and its reoccurrence in their life. As Walter gets deeper into the book he then develops an obsession and paranoia about the number. This is because he was born on February the 3rd, and other significant dates in his life add up to 23. His wife also has 23 pairs of shoes. This is one of the few black humorous moments in the film.

                      That's about as much of the story I can tell without giving away the film but I can tell you that the ending is not what I expected.

                      ~~Is it any good?~~

                      At the beginning of the film, I found the story quite confusing and a little slow. This didn't last for long as I found myself more and more intrigued. By the end of the film all of the areas of confusion were clarified and I found myself saying 'Oh that's why!' Although there is a dog in the film called NED and that's the only bit I was still a little puzzled about at the end! The running time of the film is 94 minutes and apart from the beginning of the film was fast paced and captive viewing.

                      ~~Cast~~

                      Jim Carrey
                      Virginia Madsen
                      Danny Huston
                      Logan Lerman
                      Rhona Mitra

                      The film has a 15 certificate with some sexual scenes and violence.

                      Overall, the film was enjoyable. Personally I prefer to watch Jim Carrey in serious roles. He freaks me out a bit with the face pulling! I found this film more enjoyable than both the Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind which were both good films.

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                        03.05.2008 08:26
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                        The number 23, great film.

                        I watched this DVD some time ago and wrote a review on Ciao (member name paulhanton), then I watched it again the other evening and enjoyed it even more the 2nd time round, I would certainly advise watching it twice.

                        As a DVD it would not be very different to a video or watching the film on TV in that there were no particular extras or features other than the usual 'scene selection' options, there were no interviews, behind the scenes stuff or anything like that.

                        The film is directed by Joel Schumaker who also directed/produced a couple of the Batman films, Veronica Guerin, faling down, flatliners and one of my all time favourites, Flatliners. He is not a producer director that easily comes to mind, yet is 'filmography' speaks for itself (we wont mention St Elmo's fire).

                        The choice of Jim Carrey to play the lead is inspired. Jim Carrey, Pet detective etc. I am so used to seeing him make funny faces or act the fool, this was the first eye opener of the film, the guy can act, boy can he act. For me, this is is best performance, and though I have not seen all his films, he has a touch of the early De Niro (Taxi Driver) in this film.

                        The story is really interesting, and I warn you now, I am not going to tell the ending. Jim plays a guy called Walter Sparrow, who leads a pretty average life, he is an animal warden, has a loving wife, teenage son, usual stuff. Anyway, for his birthday one day, which happens to be on the 23rd, his wife buys him a battered book from an old bookstore, the number 23, subtitled, 'A journey into obsession'.

                        Walter starts reading the book and cannot put it down, he starts seeing similarities between the books' story and his own life, which he starts telling his wife and son about. She makes the point that this was the intention of the book, and if one looks hard enough one can always find similarities. This is interesting for me as a therapist as there was clearly some decent research done for the film.

                        Sparrow becomes increasingly obsessed by both the book and the number 23 and starts behaving ever more erratically, so much so that his wife sends him to see and old friend, who happens to be a psychiatrist, this does nothing to help Walter, other than to convince him that his wife is having an affair and is in on the conspiracy with her friend. Again, a very clear 'base' in how obsessional and intrusive thoughts work for folks. This for me is the art in this film, we get to see the 'facts' from different angles and are forced to question, as a viewer, where our allegiances lie.

                        Here is where things really start take a turn for the bizarre when Sparrow is convinced that the book is written by the murderer of a local girl, as a confession, yet someone has already been jailed for this, he visits the jailed man who manages to make Sparrow doubt his guilt, and start looking for the real killer who must still be 'out there'.

                        That is enough of the plot, because the twists and turns lead to an ending that is really not expected, I didn't get it till about 15 minutes from the end, and that is great, I love that, I have usually 'guessed the ending' in the first half of any film.

                        The atmosphere of the movie changes constantly from dark and broody to fast paced, and there are lots of flashes into Sparrows minds eye as he visualises scenes from the book, these are narrated in a kind of 50's detective story way, very cool.

                        Top film, when I watched it first time it had such an impact that when I realised my oldest son's birthday that was in September was his 23rd, it sent a shiver down my spine. Did not have quite the same impact on the 2nd viewing, but still made me reflect a bit on the number 23.

                        Well worth a watch, and I bet you look up number 23 on the net afterwards, there is some freaky stuff associated with it, very clever film, and I think it should set Jim Carrey off into a new direction of films, he is so much better than some of the dross he has been in. By the way, there are 12 paragraphs in this review, if you times 12 by 2 and take away 1 (12 backwards) what number do you get?

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                          03.02.2008 21:15
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                          A thriller worth a watch

                          Synopsis
                          Walter Sparrow, a family man and dog catcher becomes obsessed with a book that appears to be based on his life but end with a murder that has yet to happen.

                          The Story
                          Walter Sparrow is a mild mannered family man, he is happily married to Agatha and they have a son, Robin. Walter works as a dog catcher.
                          On Walter's birthday a dog named Ned makes Walter late for meeting Agatha, while she is waiting she enters a book shop and is drawn to a book called 'The Number 23' , the book appears to be a detective novel about Fingerling (the detective) who becomes obsessed with the number 23. Agatha decides to buy the book for Walter.
                          Walter is pretty much hooked on the book from the start but then he begins to draw comparisons between his life and the detective's and becomes convinced that the book has been written about him. His wife and son are sure it's just a coincidence and try to convince him of it but soon they find it difficult to ignore these strange coincidences any longer, and when Walter begins having murderous dreams they set about trying to find the mysterious author.
                          Cast/Credits
                          Walter Sparrow/Fingerling - Jim Carey (Fun With Dick And Jane)
                          Agatha Sparrow/Fabrizia - Virginia Madsen (Sideways)
                          Robin Sparrow - Logan Lerman (The Butterfly Effect)
                          Issac French/Dr Miles Phoenix - Danny Huston (30 Days Of Night)
                          Suicide Blonde - Lynn Collins (The Lake House)
                          Laura Tollins - Rhona Mitra (The Life Of David Gale)
                          Director: Joel Schumacher (Phone Booth)
                          Writer : Fernley Phillips

                          My Experience
                          I actually wanted to see this film when it was first released at the cinema the trailers seemed quite interesting but I never actually got round to it. None of my friends have seen it so I read a few online reviews and there were mixed reactions, it seems to be a film people either liked a lot (loved is a bit strong) or thought was rubbish. After reading them I still decided I'd like to watch it and so added it to my list of films to rent.
                          The opening credits went on quite a while but were full of interesting facts linking events and names to the number 23. Once they were over the film has a slow start and I can see how a few people could easily loose interest but i stuck with it and although it may drag a little in parts I thought it was actually quite a good film.
                          The film was also quite a good vehicle for Jim Carrey to show the world that he is capable of some serious acting, as he goes from mild mannered Walter to the dark and mysterious Fingerling and back to Walter a man on the edge.Carrey's performance was really the only one that stood out in cast but this was more to do with the fact that he was in nearly every scene and it was all about him.
                          I quite enjoyed the twists in the plot but I'm sure some people will think that they were predictable (i can't really say much more about this as it would be a major spoiler for anyone who hasn't seen it).
                          On the downside the film was a little silly in places and even the sex scenes didn't really serve much purpose, I think the audience was meant to be a little uneasy or shocked by them but l found them a bit daft.
                          The ending is reasonable but after a good performance all the way through Jim Carrey's face is more like Ace Ventura and made me want to giggle rather than feeling unnerved.
                          Overall
                          Like I said before people will either like or hate this film and people with either think Jim Carrey is good or crap in it. I personally found it to be a good thriller and would recommend it.

                          DVD Extras: None
                          year: 2007
                          Running Time: 95 minutes

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                        • Product Details

                          Jim Carrey as a schizophrenic murderer isn't convincing, in this melodramatic film about a man obsessed by the Number 23. Joel Schumacher (Batman Forever, St. Elmo's Fire) has unintentionally managed to make a comedy of horrors that really is quite humorous in parts. Walter Sparrow (Carrey) becomes engrossed in a homespun novel about Detective Fingerling, whose life degrades into mayhem because of his obsession with 23's esoteric numerical puzzles. Sparrow's preoccupation with the book follows his botched attempt to catch a nasty dog that bites him, leading one to believe that Sparrow's contraction of rabies might be the cause for his mental degradation. As the story progresses, Sparrow retreats further into Fingerling's world, rife with suicidal sexpots and hardboiled detective sleuthing. His wife, Agatha (Virginia Madsen), also plays Fingerling's girlfriend, sex-crazed Fabrizia, who taunts Fingerling until he stabs her. Back in reality, Walter aims to solve the unresolved crimes in the book, taking it as a murderer's diary rather than as an imagined work. The story is half-baked, though Carrey's portrayal of a mentally disturbed person is what makes The Number 23 comedic. Long, contemplative stares, and over-dramatized acting renders Sparrow a clichéd character, rather than one odd enough to engage viewers. For a better version of almost the exact plot but with a terrorist's twist, see Thr3e instead. --Trinie Dalton