Animal catcher Walter Sparrow leads a normal, ordinary life until the day he gets hold of a book that turns his life upside down. Seemingly, the books tells the story of his life and how the number 23 dominates everything in it. Walter tries to come behind the secret of the book with all means necessary. His character changes to a degree that eventually takes on paranoid tendencies.
Is he going crazy or is there really a dark secret after all?
Joel Schumacher's mystery thriller tries to be a serious psycho thriller with the occult elements surrounding the number 23. Jim Carrey gets the chance to play a more sinister character than usual and he gets it done pretty well. But he still lacks the "special something" in portraying the mean and macho-type Detective Fingerling. The other actors make a decent job as well but still can't save the film from mediocrity. The tension never reaches nail-biting dimensions and the twists in the story are a bit far-fetched sometimes.
All in all a mediocre thriller with an more interesting story than usual that could have been much better, however.
The extensions of the unrated version consist to 90% merely of new and extended sex scenes, respectively. But naked flesh alone does not contribute to the story in any way. That's why I'm a little disappointed with this version.
The new version is pimped with a few new optical attractions, but storywise it's the same as the theatrical version. The US DVD features both versions, so it's up to the viewer which one he or she prefers.
Unrated version: 01:41.14 min. NTSC with credits
Theatrical version: 01:37.59 min. NTSC with credits
Unrated version: 01:36.10 min. NTSC without credits
Theatrical version: 01:32.59 min. NTSC without credits
Compared here are the US DVD: New Line Home Video (Unrated Infinifilm Edition) (R-Rated) to the US DVD: New Line Home Video (Unrated Infinifilm Edition) (Unrated).
12 cuts = 210 seconds NTSC (3min.30sec.NTSC) (added run time of the cut material)
Already the first sex scene between Detective Fingerling and Fabrizia features some new scenes compared to the theatrical version.
Closeup of Fingerling getting his pants unbuttoned. Then he pulls Fabrizia's blouse over her head.
Another new scene that wasn't featured in the theatrical version.
After the sex scene is over in the theatrical version it goes on for another 10 seconds in the unrated version.
timecode UV: 33.59
timecode TV: 33.36
After Fabrizia and Detective Fingerling have met in the motel they go to a room together. Then they have sex, and the unrated version has numerous new scenes added.
Fingerling rips her blouse open.
A different angle is used when Fingerling bends over Fabrizia and kisses her.
Fabrizia demands that he should pretend like he's having a knife and were threatening her. After he has done that and kisses her the scene is over in the theatrical version. The unrated version goes on, they kiss passionately.
Fingerling and Fabrizia have sex on the floor. But he's distracted and counts her shoes...there are 23 pairs of them.
timecode UV: 40.07
timecode TV: 38.59
Walter walks around his house with the book in his hands. He notices that his wife has 23 pairs of shoes as well. Then he slumps on the couch and keeps on reading.
After the dialog between Walter and his friend, the teacher Isaac French, there's a location shot of the Sparrow's house. Then Walter lieing on the couch and reading in the book.
Walter slowly begins to be suspicious. He thinks his wife cheats on him with his friend Isaac. He reads again in the book and there Fingerling is betrayed by Fabrizia as well. Then there's a shot of her having sex with Dr. Phoenix in the woods.
The scene begins earlier here.
Again a cut of the two having sex. The scene is a bit longer.
The scene ends in the theatrical version after Fingerling's face comes into focus. The unrated version features an additional sex scene. He watches everything and then leaves the scene while Fabrizia and Dr. Phoenix keep on having sex.
Timecode UV: 01:21.18
Timecode TV: 01:18.50
When Walter recalls his past one sees how he meets Laura. Ther sex scene between them features some additional, explicit scenes and different camera angles.
This scene is clearly less explicit in the theatrical version.
The sex scene is extended for a few shots here.
Timecode UV: 01:24.38
Timecode TV: 01.21.43
Walter wants to confront Laura after it becomes clear that she cheats on him with a tutor. She keeps on provoking him verbally until he eventually freaks out. It is shown explicitly how he keeps on stabbing Laura. In the end he's seen obviously shocked with Laura's body covered in blood next to him.
This scene runs 23 seconds! Coincidence or intentionally set up by the director?
In the theatrical version the screen turns red and one has only a dim vision of him stabbing her.