Newest Review: ... 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 ... more
When a number becomes more than a number
The Number 23 (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
The Number 23 (DVD)
Advantages: Fairly good idea
Disadvantages: Scrappy, disjointed, mis-handled, wooden acting
RELEASED: 2007, Cert. 15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 100 mins
DIRECTOR: Joel Schumacher
PRODUCERS: Beau Flynn & Tripp Vinson
SCREENPLAY: Fernley Philips
MUSIC: Harry Gregson-Williams
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 ~~
Summary: Could be good, but isn't!