Thursday, March 08, 2007

Movie Review: The Number 23

I planned to post a picture of my wall excavation after one day, but the memory card seems to be having issues. So instead you get a movie review.

4 8 15 16 23 42
If you've been watching Lost you know these numbers may come to mean something in another three and half seasons. 23 can be explained in about two hours.

This movie exploits what's known at the 23 Enigma.
From Wikipedia: As a number with which to associate things, 23 has several helpful properties. It is a prime number, and therefore more likely to be associated with coincidences because events associated with composite numbers would be divided by a factor to arrive at it or some other prime. In addition, it enjoys the boon of having the two lowest primes as digits; 2 and 3 are small and therefore can be included in complex calculations that arrive at numbers only remotely related, which can then become coincidental with significant events. Two and three are also the most frequent factors (excluding 1) of a given range of whole numbers. 23 less the numeric base is 13, which has many phobias attached to it.

The movie quotes several occurances of the number 23, some of which take quite a bit of math and a leap of imagination to get to. The more obvious include the Earth's tilt at 23.5 degrees (the .5 being 2+3), 23 chromosomes from each human parent, 23 something somethings in Euclid's geometry. There's also a ton of dates and numerology.

The story is that Jim Carrey gets a book where the main character is remarkably similar to him and is haunted by the number 23. It slowly drives him to murder and suicide. As the book progresses Jim Carrey's obsession with the number 23 grows, too. He reads the clues in the book to find the body of some girl murdered when she was 23 and the man in jail for her murder who Carrey thinks wrote the book.
The story is a quest for the author of the book and the secret of the number before the number drives him to madness and murder.

It's not a great movie, it's not a bad movie. The manner they use to get to some of those numbers is more interesting than the movie itself.

No comments: