Director Joel Schumacher (“Phantom of the Opera,” and “The Client”) takes viewers through a crash course in discord in his dramatic thriller “The Number 23.” The line between reality and fiction blurs as one man comes to terms with an inescapable truth.
Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey) despises his day job as an animal control agent. Running late one night in picking up his wife, Agatha (Virginia Madsen), he discovers her reading a book named “The Number 23.” Written by a man named Topsy Kretts, the book draws Sparrow and his family into main character Fingerling’s disconcerting tale of obsession and murder. Steadily occurring odd coincidences cause Sparrow to gradually succumbing to the terrifying grip of madness.
Carrey once again proves that he can take on a serious role and play it well. He gives a riveting performance as the multi-faceted character Walter Sparrow. Sarcastically droll during the first half of the movie, he transitions into the far more disturbing side of Sparrow during the second half. Virginia Madsen’s solid portrayal of Agatha Sparrow is credible as she supports her husband through the various stages of his declining mental state. Logan Lerman enthusiastically plays the Sparrow’s teenaged son, Robin, as he tries to help his dad solve the mystery surrounding the infamous number 23.
From beginning to end, the cinematography is exceptional. Vibrant reds and earthy browns vividly stand out against an eerily dark background. Light and dark dance around one another as the film moves from one beautifully-crafted scene to another. The dream-like haze of Sparrow’s rendition of Fingerling’s story stands in striking contrast against the distinctive reality of his own fixation.
Tight scenes, superb acting and excellent cinematography come together to make “The Number 23” an enjoyable experience. The suspense builds with each new twist in the story, and though the ending is a bit of a clich