'The Number 23: Unrated'
(Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, et al / DVD / Unrated / 2007 / New Line)
Overview: Walter Sparrow (Carrey) becomes engrossed in a homespun novel about Detective Fingerling, whose life degrades into mayhem because of his obsession with 23's esoteric numerical puzzles. Sparrow's preoccupation with the book follows his botched attempt to catch a nasty dog that bites him, leading one to believe that Sparrow's contraction of rabies might be the cause for his mental degradation. As the story progresses, Sparrow retreats further into Fingerling's world, rife with suicidal sexpots and hardboiled detective sleuthing.
DVD Verdict: 'The Number 23' starring Jim Carrey as dog catcher Walter Sparrow is an extremely bizarre movie featuring a mysterious murder and a numerological obsession with the number 23. The movie offers a perplexing examination of delusion and madness, showing the power of obsession on the human mind. Numerology and the obsession with the magical power of numbers is an ancient discipline represented by such distinguished ancient thinkers as Pythagoras; however, as this movie shows such a discipline can often lead to unhealthy obsession.
This movie begins with Jim Carrey as dog catcher. He is having an otherwise ordinary day (February 2 (2-3) - his birthday) when he encounters a dog named "NED" who bites him in the process of trying to catch him. This synchronous event causes him to be late for a meeting with his wife, giving her ample time to peruse a book at a used bookstore called 'The Number 23.' As it turns out, Carrey ends up purchasing this book, which begins his bizarre obsession with the number 23. As Carrey begins reading the book, he notices eerie resemblances to his own life, including similarities to his own family (which holds a dark secret). Ultimately, Carrey discovers that he must resolve a murder which can only be solved by unlocking the key in the book. However, this murder holds a dark secret linked forever to Carrey himself and the number 23. As the story continues, Carrey descends deeper and deeper into madness, until eventually he must make a profound choice which will alter his life forever. To understand the rest of the story you must watch the movie.
Unfortunately, the movie itself tends to drag in parts, and the ending is not very well done. I found myself imagining countless alternative endings, but was ultimately disappointed by what actually occurs. The movie does offer a good look into the mind of a madman, but it ultimately fails to be convincing in certain respects. At the end, I felt that several loose ends were not wrapped up, and remained largely confused about certain details. While the basic idea of this movie is interesting, it ultimately fails to deliver and becomes boring. Thus, I cannot say that I fully recommend it, despite the fact that the idea behind it is an interesting one. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Both Unrated and Theatrical Versions of the Film
16 Deleted Scenes
And Much More!