So what is it all about?? In short it is a psychological thriller which involves a number 23 obsession. ( you know Psalm 23, 23 was Hitler's favorite number etc, etc ). Or in other words the so-called 23 enigma, the esoteric belief that all incidents and events are connected to the number 23, permutation of 23, or a number related to 23. ( In short guy finds a novel that inexplicably is mirroring his own life. It revolves around the number 23 and he becomes obssessed by it as he finds an underlying murder behind the novel's existence ). The premise is great as this belief in 23 is held very real by many people. So you'd expect a really cool film out of it wouldn't you? WRONG!! Because unfortunately The Number 23 takes a fantastic opportunity and completely stuffs it up.
The problem is that whilst the idea of a number 23 obsession has real scope, the script is just so unoriginal you wonder why anyone even bothered to make it. Seriously folks if you combine Memento, with The Shining and Secret Window, then you would end up with The Number 23. The writing and scrawling on arms and hands is lifted straight out of Memento, as is the scrawling all over any available wall ala The Shining. But worse is the Secret Window analogy. The thing is that in The Number 23 it becomes all too obvious who wrote the novel all too quickly, hence any suspense is completely lost.
But it is more than this because the film flits, as it must, between two time streams. But it doesn't do it well enough. Sure there is a certain stylishness about it, but it ultimately feels clumsy, confusing and delivered in a rather rambling manner. And again The Secret Window analogy is all too obvious. All of which takes away from an excellent non-comedic performance from Carrey, which deserves to be seen. The rest of the cast is solid, but Carrey is on a different level. If you hadn't seen him act in this film you'd never believe he could pull of a role like this and so convincingly.
And that is the problem. Carry's performance is just too good for the whole film! The script is poor to say the least and doesn't do justice to Carrey at all. It is a pity because so many people will never watch this film and see his performance. But what I hope happens is that somewhere in the future Carrey is given a far superior script to work with. One in which he can showcase his obvious talent for this type of suspense thriller.
|Memento and The Shining anyone?|
IMDB has this with 6.2/10. For me that is far too generous. I'd be hard pressed to give it a begrudged 5/10 for being unoriginal, too obvious, and for stuffing up a potentially great premise, and opportunity, to make a creditable thriller around the number 23 enigma.
Click here for a synopsis and more: