The Number 23
|The Number 23|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joel Schumacher|
|Produced by||Beau Flynn
|Written by||Fernley Phillips|
|Music by||Harry Gregson-Williams|
|Edited by||Mark Stevens|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
The Number 23 is a 2007 American psychological thriller film written by Fernley Phillips and directed by Joel Schumacher. Starring Jim Carrey, the film was released in the United States on February 23, 2007.
The plot involves an obsession with the 23 enigma, an esoteric belief that all incidents and events are directly connected to the number 23, some permutation of the number 23, or a number related to 23. This is the second film to pair Schumacher and Carrey, the first being Batman Forever. This is Carrey's first role in a suspense thriller since he played a supporting part in The Dead Pool (1988), the last installment of the Dirty Harry series.
The film was financially successful, but critical reviews were largely negative.
Walter Sparrow is an animal control officer married to Agatha; they have a son, Robin. At a bookstore, Agatha begins looking at a book called "The Number 23" written by Topsy Kretts. She later gives Walter the book as a birthday present.
Walter starts reading the book, noticing odd similarities between himself and the main character, a detective who refers to himself as "Fingerling". Walter begins to have dreams of murdering Agatha. Walter tried to warn her about the number being dangerous and how it was going to come after her. She told him he was crazy, daring Walter to kill her. Agatha finds Walter at the hotel, and tries to assure him that he is no longer the person he was when he wrote the book. He insists that he is a killer, accepting the fact that he murdered Tollins, and tells Agatha to leave before he kills her too. Agatha pushes a letter opener into Walter's hand, saying that if he is indeed a killer, he can easily kill again, and dares him to kill her. She tells him that she loves him. Walter tells her that she can't love him because no one can, mirroring an accusation made by Laura on the night of her murder. He leaves the hotel and runs into the street, where he nearly allows himself to be run over by a bus, but steps out of the way at the last minute when he realizes his son is watching. As he embraces his family, a voice-over by Walter tells the audience that he turned himself in to the police and is awaiting sentencing, having been told that the judge will likely go easy on him since he turned himself in. A funeral procession takes place in front of Tollins' grave, where it is implied her body has finally been laid to rest, as Flinch observes, finally a free man.
- Jim Carrey as Walter Paul Sparrow / Detective Fingerling
- Paul Butcher as Young Walter / Fingerling
- Virginia Madsen as Agatha Pink-Sparrow / Fabrizia
- Logan Lerman as Robin Sparrow
- Danny Huston as Isaac French / Dr. Miles Phoenix
- Rhona Mitra as Laura Tollins
- Bud Cort (uncredited) as Dr. Leary
- Chris Lajoie as Benton
- Mark Pellegrino as Kyle Flinch
- Lynn Collins as Isobel Lydia Hunt ("The Suicide Blonde") / Mrs. Dobkins / Young Fingerling's mother
- Michelle Arthur as Sybil
- Ed Lauter as Father Sebastian
- Corey Stoll as Sergeant Burns
- Tom Lenk as Bookstore clerk
- Bob Zmuda as Desk clerk
The film has been majority criticized by critics, with a current rating of 8% on Rotten Tomatoes and a consensus stating "Jim Carrey has been sharp in a number of non-comedic roles, but this lurid, overheated, and self-serious potboiler is not one of them. The Number 23 is clumsy, unengaging, and mostly confusing." Of the few critics who liked the film, Richard Roeper and critic George Pennachio of KABC-TV in Los Angeles stand out, as they gave the film a "2 thumbs up" rating on the television show Ebert & Roeper (Pennachio was standing in for Roger Ebert due to Ebert's illness).
However, Michael Phillips, filling in for Ebert on the Worst of 2007 show (aired January 12, 2008) put 23 at No. 7 in his list of the worst (Roeper did not include it in his list). Peter Travers (of Rolling Stone) declared the film the year's worst star vehicle on his list of the Worst Movies of 2007, while Colm Andrew of the Manx Independent said the film "delivers a rambling, confusing narrative with only a few stylistic elements thrown in".
On its opening weekend, The Number 23 took in $14,602,867, coming in behind Ghost Rider in its second weekend. After five weeks of release, the film grossed $35,193,167 at the domestic box office and $42,373,648 overseas for a worldwide total of $77,566,815.
The film was released on Region 1 DVD on July 24, 2007; the release contains both the theatrical version and an extended version, which runs an additional four minutes. Special features include deleted scenes, such as a much more abstract alternate opening somewhat reminiscent of the opening of The Double Life of Véronique, and an alternate ending that gives a few more details about Walter's prison sentence and hints at the possibility that the son could be subject to the same obsessions as his father. The disc also includes interviews with mathematicians, psychologists, and numerologists. The DVD shows the film over a set of 23 chapters. As of August 24, 2007, The Number 23 has generated $27.7 million from DVD rental gross.
- "THE NUMBER 23 (15)". Entertainment Film Distributors. British Board of Film Classification. February 8, 2007. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- The Number 23 at Box Office Mojo
- The Number 23, rottentomatoes.com, accessed March 25, 2007.
- Ebert & Roeper, air date February 24, 2007.
- Travers, Peter, (December 19, 2007) "Peter Travers' Best and Worst Movies of 2007" Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-12-20
- Review by Colm Andrew, IOM Today
- "Weekend Box Office Results for February 23-25, 2007". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. February 26, 2007. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- The Number 23 at the Internet Movie Database
- The Number 23 at Box Office Mojo
- The Number 23 at Rotten Tomatoes
- The coincidental world of the number 23