On his birthday, Walter Sparrow, an amiable dog-catcher, takes a call that leaves him dog bit and late to pick up his wife. She's browsed in a bookstore, finding a blood-red-covered novel, a murder mystery with numerology that loops constantly around the number 23. The story captivates Walter: he dreams it, he notices aspects of his life that can be rendered by "23," he searches for the author, he stays in the hotel (in room 23) where events in the novel took place, and he begins to believe it was no novel. His wife and son try to help him, sometimes in sympathy, sometimes to protect him. Slowly, with danger to himself and to his family, he closes in on the truth. Written by
There has been a great deal of critical scorn directed at 'The Number 23', which almost made me rethink my decision to see it, despite finding the concept very enticing, being impressed by the promotional materials, and generally liking Joel Schumacher as a director (yes, Batman and Robin was awful, but he's directing some very good films like The Client, Phone Booth and The Lost Boys) And after seeing the finished product, I find myself asking why the knives are out for the film. Now, I'm not saying this is a brilliant film, because it isn't. It's rather easy to guess the plot twists, the script does tend to patronise the viewer and the final segment of the film casually abandons the central premise in favour of a more generic 'mystery' storyline. But I found quite a few things to like about the movie, such as strong performances from Jim Carrey and Virginia Madsen, very stylish direction and (for most of the movie)a genuine undercurrent of tension as the events unfold. It's not going to be remembered as a highlight on the careers of anyone involved, but if you enjoyed conspiracy theory novels such as The Da Vinci Code or shows like the X-Files, you are more likely to see past the critics and enjoy this film.
Final Score 6 (which is 2x3)/10
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