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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The ultimate meaning of life is to embrace that which compels you to act in spite of fear.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Number 23

I saw the movie The Number 23 a while back.

While Jim Carrey gives an interesting and disturbing performance as a man with a lot on his mind, the movie as a whole piece of work is just plain bad. Essentially, it’s about a man obsessed with the number 23. Now, the idea of obsession with patterns or numerology as a field of study can certainly provide some grist for the creative mill. (An eminently wise and learned colleague of mine once said that for a writer, belief is irrelevant. The job of the writer is to entertain the notion and explore it. I would agree with this.) Some feel that numbers can explain the world around us, or even the reason for the world around us. However, when these ideas are turned into film, the results are often, well, rather silly. And this new Carrey flick is a case in point. I won’t get into plot details because, quite frankly, I don’t care enough to do so.

Essentially, the film commits two main errors - one structural, the other in how it deals with the number 23 itself (or in some cases its reverse, 32).

First of all, the movie’s structure is uneven. The beginning is playful; the middle is more a series of edgy and bizarre scenes put together than a second act; and the end, if you make it that far, is an okay ending for a movie we wish this movie could’ve been. The movie doesn’t know what it wants to be, quite simply. Secondly, the connection the film makes between numbers is so tenuous as to be laughable. Now I’m no mathematician, but I was laughing, and not in a good way.

However, I did think that Carrey’s hair in the film was very, er, 1976. Wait! If you add up those four number you get … no … yes … 23! See how cool that is? See what I mean?

I also think the price of the movie ticket, the popcorn, and the pop might be around 23 bucks – what you’ll save by not seeing this movie.

When I first decided to beat up on this movie in a blog post, I considered coming up with 23 reasons not to see this film. But, that would suggest obsession on my part, which might support the very idea I was trying to lampoon.

How about this: 3 minus 2 is 1, and 2 minus 3 is -1. Add those two results together and you get 0.

End of post.


Blogger aditionline said...

Not a bad review..I agree that sometimes movie was confusing when things added upto 32 instead of 23..Read my full review at my blog:

10:21 AM  
Blogger oakwriter said...

Hello Aditi. Thanks for visiting and commenting. When I considered listing 23 reasons not to see this movie, it occurred to me someone should come up with a list of 23 reasons one should see it! Just for the sake of balance, you know. Good list. Nice work. (I would see pretty much any movie with Elizabeth Shue in it. But wait, wasn’t that Virginia Madsen? Is there a 23 connection between them?!) Yes, the film does have some intriguing aspects, but I found as a whole it didn’t work for me. And while the ending is a kind of a cool implosion, by then I wasn’t as interested as I wanted to be. Maybe that’s the whole point of this movie: to get increasingly clear, like a pattern coming into focus. Perhaps if I knew more about numerology…

8:48 AM  

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