The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Movie Review-Number 23

Walter Sparrow, played by Jim Carrey, begins to notice how the number 23 shows up in his life after he reads a novel based on the number in the recently released film Number 23.  Photo courtesy New Line Cinema
Walter Sparrow, played by Jim Carrey, begins to notice how the number 23 shows up in his life after he reads a novel based on the number in the recently released film Number 23. Photo courtesy New Line Cinema

By Sara Pintilie/reporter

Walter Sparrow, played by Jim Carrey, begins to notice how the number 23 shows up in his life after he reads a novel based on the number in the recently released film Number 23.  Photo courtesy New Line Cinema
Walter Sparrow, played by Jim Carrey, begins to notice how the number 23 shows up in his life after he reads a novel based on the number in the recently released film Number 23. Photo courtesy New Line Cinema

Though Number 23 has some good elements about it, the film just tries too hard. The only thing the audience gets out of the movie is an odd urge to put everything to a numeric value to see if it adds up to 23. I even found myself adding up my name and my birth date, but no luck, I am safe from the evil number.

The initial concept of the film is good. Joel Schumacher, the director of the love-or-hate film Phantom of the Opera, or more notoriously known as the man who put nipples on Batman’s suit, brings an interesting idea of numerology obsession to the screen.

Apparently the “23 enigma” was proposed in Robert Anton Wilson’s book Wilson’s Cosmic Trigger I: Final Secret of the Illuminati and suggests that everything is somehow connected to the number 23. For example: September 11= 9+11+2+1=23, Julius Caesar was said to have been stabbed 23 times; William Shakespeare was born and died April 23, Psalms 23 is the Psalm of David “… Though I walk through the valley of death …” and other occurrences, simple or farfetched.

Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Truman Show), a local dog catcher, starts to notice the number 23 showing up in his life after he reads a novel scribed by the mysterious Topsy Kretts. The occurrence of the number and the similarities in the novel to his own life become Sparrow’s obsession, which starts to destroy every aspect of his life.

Half of the film spends its time in Sparrow’s mind-set, the other, in the head of the novel’s protagonist, Detective Fingerling. Fingerling’s world, a film noir gone very wrong, contains an Italian vixen, a suicide blonde and a slick doctor.

Sounds interesting? I thought so at first, but as the movie progressed, I, as did many members of the audience, lost interest. 

Schumacher jumps around, switching from the mystical power of the number 23 to an unsolved murder. He seems to cram as many different angles of the story as possible into the 95-minute time frame. The whole film comes off rushed and shallow.

Also the director places cool camera tricks in odd places, so sometimes the effect and momentum of the film are lost.

I did enjoy Carrey in the film though. I never thought I would truly believe Carrey would thrive in anything other than a comedy, but after his fantastic role in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I actually looked forward to him in this movie. He was excellent as Sparrow, though he was guilty of overacting a few times.

Virginia Madsen (The Prophecy, The Haunting) is average as Sparrow’s wife, Agatha. She, like the movie, seems rushed and haphazard. The rest of the supporting cast seems to get lost in the franticness or in Carrey’s shadow. But even Carrey cannot save this movie.

I give this film 2.3 stars out of five.

I would skip Number 23 in theaters and instead rent another movie dealing with numbers, the quirky Stranger than Fiction.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian