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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - Edition No 908 

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NUMBER 23, THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
By the time Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey) arrives late for a rendezvous with Agatha (Victoria Madsen) near a bookshop, Ag has found a book, The Number 23, which she insists he read, it's so engaging. But Walter finds the book too familiar to his own life for comfort, as it builds an obsession with 23 as a fateful number which can influence people's lives - dramatically. Drawn deeper and deeper into this obsession, Walter begins to dream and imagine terrible things that his alter ego does - indeed, his friends also appear in noirish versions of themselves, as he tries to find a killer and to prevent a suicide.

Review by Louise Keller:
Beware of paranoia settling in after seeing The Number 23. You may find yourself checking dates and counting numbers or even reading number plates or barcodes. A story about obsession, Joel Schumacher's dense film is a curious mix of genres. A drama with noir overtones, it's a thriller, murder mystery, family and psychological drama. So much is thrown into the script, it's as though the writer (Fernley Phillips) was desperate to include his every idea and offer every possible opportunity for complexity and confusion. The result is a bewildering and heavy handed tale filled with angst, notions of coincidence, fate and destiny.

'If Only' would be the perfect epitaph on a grave, according to Jim Carrey's easy-going family man Walter Sparrow who finds himself obsessed by the self-printed and published manuscript given to him by his wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen) for his birthday. This is Carrey in his dark persona and his performance is fine, as he displays an undercurrent of angst that escalates as the film unravels. As he reads chapter after chapter, Walter believes he is somehow connected to the central detective Fingerling. In Walter's mind, Fingerling's dark-haired femme fatale Fabrizia is his beloved Agatha (Madsen also plays dual roles), and their sexual and violent relationship becomes frenzied as he learns about the enigmatic ambiguities of the number 23.

There's a dog called Ned that guards the dead, a murdered student, a suicide blonde, a voluptuous sexpot who is turned on by violence and the obsessive fear of the relevance of the number 23. There's a dark edge to all the film and Schumacher relentlessly thrusts his garbled message right until the last frame. There is a personal crisis and choices that are tough. But according to Schumacher, the right ending may not be happy, but it's the right ending.

Published September 6, 2007



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 2
Mixed: 0

NUMBER 23, THE: DVD (MA)
(US, 2007)

CAST: Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Logan Lerman, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins, Rhona Mitra, Michelle Arthur, Mark Pellegrino,

PRODUCER: Beau Flynn, Fernley Phillips, Tripp Vinson

DIRECTOR: Joel Schumacher

SCRIPT: Fernley Phillips

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Matthew Libatique

EDITOR: Mark Stevens

MUSIC: Harry Gregson-Williams

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Andrew Laws

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 25, 2007

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: .

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: September 5, 2007







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