Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Premise: A man (Jim Carrey) begins reading an obscure crime novel revolving around the number twenty-three and begins to notice story elements corresponding to his own life. This begins a descent into paranoia as he attempts to uncover the author of the book.
What Works: The Number 23 is great deal of fun to watch. The story alternates between the real narrative and the narrative in the book, dramatizing both. It does not achieve the artistic or thematic heights of The Fountain, but it does work effectively. For most of the picture, the mystery is well done and is able to keep up the interest with some twists and turns. Director Schumacher has tried to do edgy material before (Falling Down, 8mm) but in this film he succeeds more than he has in the past. The Number 23 also gives Jim Carrey new dramatic ground to cover. The actor best known for roles in movies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb and Dumber gets a chance to remind everyone that he can act, and Carrey proves he can lead a thriller.
What Doesn’t: The ending of the film is a let down. The movie abandons the atmosphere that it has developed and cops out on the cost and the horror of the revelation. The appearance of the number twenty-three does become intimidating but it is never clear what the significance of the number is.
Bottom Line: The Number 23 is sufficiently engaging to make for an entertaining two hours. It is not a film of much substance, especially once the secret of the film is revealed, but it is worth a video rental or a matinee showing.
Episode: #132 (March 11, 2007)