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The Number 23

By Mitch Emerson

Starring: Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Danny Huston, Rhona Mitra, Logan Lerman Directed By: Joel Schumacher Produced By: Mike Drake, Eli Richbourg, Brooklyn Weaver Genre: Thriller Release Date: February 23, 2007 MPAA Rating: R for violence, disturbing images, sexuality and language. Distributors: New Line Cinema

The psychological thriller The Number 23 stars Jim Carrey as a man whose life unravels after he comes into contact with an obscure book titled The Number 23. As he reads the book, he becomes increasingly convinced that it is based on his own life. His obsession with the number 23 starts to consume him, and he begins to realize the book forecasts far graver consequences for his life than he could have ever imagined.

I used to think Joel Schumacher was a crap filmmaker after what he did to the Batman franchise. Not quite at the level of Ewe Boll, but not high on my list. And then I looked at his IMDB page and noticed that there are quite a few films that he has done that I enjoy including Lost Boys, Flatliners, Falling Down and even Phantom Of The Opera. So I will forgive him for nipplefying Batman. That being said, I was highly impressed with The Number 23. It's almost a throwback to the suspense thrillers like some of those mentioned above.

Joel Schumacher has created a dark, suspenseful thriller which isn't as supernatural as the trailers would lead you to believe. If you want complete honesty, I would call this a psychological thriller with elements of the supernatural. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed this movie. It had a good story that kept you guessing, some good camera tricks such as a scene at the beginning when Walter (Carrey) starts to read the book. The camera is continuously moving forward through each scene like chapters in the book. For some reason it just caught my eye. In actuality almost all of the "book" scenes had a noirish, dream like quality to them that really separated the fiction from Walter's real life developments.

Jim Carrey turns in a great performance here. One of his rare turns in a serious role, he plays obsessive well enough to be, well, obsessed by the number 23. He is in a downward spiral that will only end when he learns the truth and plays it accordingly. Virginia Madsen, who seems to have been a busy little beaver lately with this and The Astronaut Farmer being released on the same day, plays another supportive mother/wife who just wants to protect her family. Their son Robin, played by Logan Lerman is one of the semi-small touches that makes this movie work for me. He gets just as enthusiastic and almost as obsessed as Walter does and helps to solve the mystery.

I must say that this film has gotten some negative press but I really liked it. I will probably add this to my DVD collection if only to see how many instances of the number 23 I can notice. And yes, there are a ton of them. The number 23 (number, not the movie) has some significance in history as being regarded as a supernatural number. I'm sure you can find tons of interesting articles and what not if you are interested. Me, I just watch movies.

With an ending that really caught me by surprise, The Number 23 is an ideal movie for fans of flicks like Stay, The Sixth Sense, and Donnie Darko if not just for seeing Carrey in a serious role that he pulls off very well.

Until Carrey does Ace Ventura 3: Ace in Jurassic Park, keep reading.


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