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The Number 23 (2007)

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Walter Sparrow becomes obsessed with a novel that he believes was written about him. As his obsession increases, more and more similarities seem to arise.

Director:

Joel Schumacher
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4,640 ( 45)
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Carrey ... Walter Sparrow / Fingerling
Virginia Madsen ... Agatha Sparrow / Fabrizia
Logan Lerman ... Robin Sparrow
Danny Huston ... Isaac French / Dr. Miles Phoenix
Lynn Collins ... Suicide Blonde / Mrs. Dobkins / Young Fingerling's Mother
Rhona Mitra ... Laura Tollins
Michelle Arthur ... Sybil
Mark Pellegrino ... Kyle Flinch
Paul Butcher ... Young Fingerling / Young Walter
David Stifel ... Hotel Clerk
Corey Stoll ... Sergeant Burns
Ed Lauter ... Father Sebastian
Troy Kotsur Troy Kotsur ... Barnaby
Walter Soo Hoo Walter Soo Hoo ... Chinese Restaurant Owner
Patricia Belcher ... Dr. Alice Mortimer
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Storyline

On his birthday, Walter Sparrow, an amiable dog-catcher, takes a call that leaves him dog bit and late to pick up his wife. She's browsed in a bookstore, finding a blood-red-covered novel, a murder mystery with numerology that loops constantly around the number 23. The story captivates Walter: he dreams it, he notices aspects of his life that can be rendered by "23," he searches for the author, he stays in the hotel (in room 23) where events in the novel took place, and he begins to believe it was no novel. His wife and son try to help him, sometimes in sympathy, sometimes to protect him. Slowly, with danger to himself and to his family, he closes in on the truth. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

First it takes hold of your mind...then it takes hold of your life. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, disturbing images, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English | Chinese

Release Date:

23 February 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Número 23 See more »

Filming Locations:

Pasadena, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,602,867, 25 February 2007, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$35,193,167

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$77,566,815
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

SDDS | DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The license plate on Sparrow's car is 6098TC. 6+0+9+8=23 AND T (20th letter) plus C (3rd letter) equals 23. See more »

Goofs

(at around 9 mins) When Agatha is proceeding to the bookstore, the van in the street behind her disappears between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Walter Sparrow: A week ago, the only thing I thought was out of the ordinary was that it was my birthday.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Unrated version runs 3-4 minutes longer. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Hour: In Pakistan (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Blue Christmas
Written by Billy Hayes (as Bill Hayes) and Jay Johnson (as Jay W. Johnson)
Performed by Dean Martin
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Has potential but the foundation of nonsense is never overcome
30 April 2008 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Lowly dogcatcher Walter Sparrow has his life changed when he comes into contact with a self-published novel by a mysterious author. Reading it, Walter finds eerie parallels between his life and the writer (Topsy Kretts – no, really) but more than that he finds that the fictional observations may well be true. The character in the novel claims to have stumbled across the evil power of the number 23 – finding it woven into all aspects of life. Walter starts out just interested in the story but as he looks into this claim he finds it to be true and quickly becomes obsessed with getting to the bottom of it all.

I like a good conspiracy-type film I do. My cynicism and bitterness sets me up to easily accept something much bigger than me ultimately working against me in ways that I cannot ever defeat. Sadly The number 23 is not a "good" film by any means and, although it all looks slick and professional, it is really very weak when you take away all the protection of budget and packaging and look at it in the cold light of day. In fact, it doesn't even take the cold light of day to expose 23 for what it is because it is hard to take it seriously when you are watching it. The problems are all the way from the very idea through the script because it never convinces and indeed scenes where the number is discussed ("32 – or 23 reversed") are just ridiculous and I was never able to get passed this and get into the mystery any more than this.

It is a shame because deep down there is a nice idea here and I like the gradual twist but the delivery doesn't make the most of it. Perhaps lost in the silliness of it, the film cannot make the number thing work, even when it sort of becomes a side issue (in some small way). It all looks good and I thought the visual design of the film was quite impressive – as was the device of having Walter putting himself within the novel as he read it; not only does it make things easier for the viewer but it also points to the root of the obsession. Carrey is actually OK here despite my worry that he would be really badly miscast. He works and even while the audience is snickering, one can believe that at least he believes if even if nobody else does. Madsen was better than I expected although generally she was best "within" the novel bits. Huston hangs round the edges failing to do much though.

Overall then this is a professional enough film that is slickly put together and has potential in every way if only some other device other than that bl00dy stupid number had been selected as the focus. As it is, the idea of destructive obsession is lost as many viewers will be too busy shouting "nonsense" at the screen while the script tries and fails to grip the audience with a thriller based on such tosh.


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