I don’t normally give critiques of movies unless they’re really good or really bad. The Number 23 — it was really bad, which is a shame because it could’ve been really good. What you had was a premise — and then a story to fit around the premise. I almost wondered if this was a pitch session gone bad.
The premise is simple: the 23 Enigma. That 23 is this all important number that repeats itself through nature and human history. Of course, I could come up with a number which is even more mysterious, that appears EVERYWHERE…and that number would be PI. Hmmm, not as interesting, is it? Or the way you can get to the number 23 (divide by 4, then multiple by 3, summing the parts…sure, whatever). Even the number 5 can be traced to 23 (2+3=5) which begs me to ask — isn’t then the number 5 the most important number?
Anyways, I’m getting off track here. There were two stories that were told — and the number 23 is the one that didn’t work. There’s this sense that the number 23 was his downfall…but why? It wasn’t like the number did anything to him. Sure, he realized his name=23, or that their birthday, or whatever, but so? It was still a number — no more sinister than the number of the day from Sesame Street. But somehow, we’re supposed to believe that seeing the number 23 led him to go crazy? Ummm, okay.
The story should’ve been about the mysterious book and how the main character (Sparrow) continues to see reflections of himself in that book. What is the nature of the book? Why does it mirror his life? Who is the author?
Luckily, this movie was only 94 minutes. 9+4=13=4 multiplied by…whatever. It doesn’t equal 23. It doesn’t even equal good.