This Film is NOT a Future Release.
The Following Preview has been Archived.
September 18th, 2006:
Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey
) stumbles onto a fascinating book titled The Number 23. It’s a peculiar little story about an individual that becomes obsessed with the number “23” and its recurrence in his everyday life. As Walter reads the novel and sees the character surrendering himself to his own paranoia, he too begins to experience similar feelings. In fact with time, Walter begins to spot parallels between the book and the real life situations around him, much to the displeasure of his wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen
), who begins to worry about his irrational behavior. His confusion continues to escalate and he begins to believe that the novel is actually based on his own life. When he discovers the main character’s grisly demise in the book, he truly begins to panic. If the story is indeed based on Walter’s life, then he will have to find a way to prevent his own impending doom from ever taking place.What to Expect:
I must admit that up until now, I have not been aware of the allure that number 23 appears to hold for many individuals. Like 13, 23 is associated with luck, although primarily good luck. Apparently, anywhere you look, the number somehow comes into play. The earth rotates around an axis that is positioned at a 23-degree angle. During human reproduction, the sperm and the egg each donate 23 chromosomes to the daughter cell. One of the most famous Bible verses, which begins with the words “The Lord is my shepherd,” is the 23rd Psalm. Many superstitious folks would be quick to point out how prevalent 23 is in real life. In my opinion, one will see just about anything one wishes to see if one is focusing in on it, but it is both weird and wonderful just how far beliefs of any sort can be stretched. Article continues below
One of the people that is admittedly obsessed with the number 23 is none other than Jim Carrey, who has declared in several interviews that he has been fascinated by the number for years (23 years?). Ever since his friend pointed out the phenomenon to him, Carrey has been spotting the number everywhere. His production company is even named “JC23 Entertainment.” It is a bit of a bizarre interest, but at least Carrey has found something else to keep him occupied other than that trendy Scientology that most celebrities tend to get involved in.
In a way, this is an important picture for Jim Carrey, who has seen his career quiet down significantly. I think that his transition into drama has been nothing short of phenomenal and I would contend that he was robbed of Academy Award nominations on a couple of occasions. However, the move from comedy to drama has clearly hurt his credibility with general audiences as a bankable comedy icon. Personally, I enjoy his serious roles over his comedic ones, but I realize that it is important for his films to do well if he is going to continue making them. The Number 23 marks his first foray into thriller territory, which is certainly much more lucrative than the sometimes dull world of drama. I think that Carrey is a fine enough actor to adjust to the genre, but once again, audiences might wrestle a bit with the thought of him as a hero in this sort of movie.
Carrey read the script first and immediately became fascinated by the intricate mathematics of the story. He has since compared the first-time writer Fernley Phillips to “Rain Man.” The screenplay has found its way into director Joel Schumacher
’s lap by virtue of his friendship with Carrey. The duo has long been planning to work together again after their collaboration on Batman Forever. Carrey was Schumacher’s choice to star in his thriller Phone Booth, but that never panned out and Colin Farrell
landed the role. Since then, both have been looking for a similarly intense project and both finally had enough free time in their schedules to make The Number 23 happen.
With hot/cold Schumacher at the helm, one can never fully know what to expect. He directed the atrocious Batman & Robin, the numbing Bad Company, and the aforementioned Batman Forever. However, he has also managed to deliver the memorable Falling Down, the intense Phone Booth, and the uncharacteristically stripped-down and gritty Tigerland, which marked Colin Farrell’s breakthrough, albeit a quiet one. I also found myself gripped by his savagely violent thriller, 8MM, although many others found it distasteful. So while Schumacher may seem like an odd choice for a director to some, there is evidence in his resume that would suggest that he is perfectly capable of handling a quirky psychological thriller of this sort. His last endeavor, The Phantom of the Opera, was a far more unusual choice for the filmmaker.
Here is a film in which one of the central themes is how life imitates art, which is exemplified by Walter’s tendency to compare his daily life to the events within the pages of a book that he is reading. However, the movie itself is a case of art imitating life, namely a story that parallels film star Jim Carrey’s real-life fascination with the number 23. There is a lot of potential here for a wonderful, mind-bending experience and I truly hope that Carrey is accurate when he describes screenwriter Fernley Phillips as a “Rain Man” because it might take that sort of an intellect to warp the material into something uniquely amazing. Early reports have suggested that the film is an interesting thriller, darker than expected, and worth the wait for those that were hoping to see Carrey star in a thriller. It’s possible that it could go on to become one of those puzzles that’s littered with clues that can only be discovered by the audience after a couple of viewings, but somehow I sense that it will be simpler than the filmmakers make it out to be.In Conclusion:
This should be an intriguing and taut thriller that will surely fall within Schumacher’s better work alongside films like Phone Booth. There is an incredible resemblance between the story in The Number 23 and the plot of Stranger Than Fiction
. In the latter, a man (Will Ferrell
) hears his life being narrated to him and realizes that he is a character in someone’s book. Both films also feature comedians in serious dramatic turns, but Stranger Than Fiction is taking a much more lighthearted approach to the material, which will probably work better with audiences in the long run. The Number 23 should still be an entertaining ride, but I’m not sure how people will respond to Carrey as the protagonist. By the way, this preview contains 69 words that begin with the letter “w.” I don’t need to explain that “w” is the 23rd letter in the alphabet and 69 is divisible by 23.Similar Titles: Falling Down
, Phone Booth
, American Psycho