Posted by: Jack | July 12, 2007

The Number 23

Watched this film last night. Good acting. Good story. Pretty scary but not hard-to-sleep scary. My only complaints are that the type of plot twist featured has appeared a bit too often lately which would have been alright except that a common mistake was made in revealing said twist. Many recent movie-makers like to do a sort of montage featuring flashbacks after the twist is revealed so that the viewer can take note of how it all fits together (Fight Club, Inside Man, The Usual Suspects, The Illusionist, The Prestige, The Sixth Sense, etc.). Personally I would much prefer that the flashbacks be left out altogether since I have what neurologists call “memory”. This “memory” retains information received throughout the duration of the film and can then be considered at a later time. When the twist is revealed I would like at least a few moments to recollect and think, “Oh yeah, that totally makes sense with what happened earlier! I feel clever for having understood the plot as the writer intended; however, not quite as clever as the writer must be. I wish I was that clever.”

By explicitly displaying all the implications of the twist, the writer/director/producer (whoever made the call) seems to be saying, “Check out how clever I am! Ignore the fact that I wasn’t clever enough to reveal the twist in a subtle manner. Instead, find yourself in awe of how this seemingly insignificant scene from earlier was actually a key point in the story. Roll clip.” Although this person’s assumption (that the viewer is incapable of connecting multiple parts of the story) may be true for many viewers, it is my belief that an intellectual thriller such as this one should not resort to “dumbing down”. If a viewer doesn’t get it, they can be the person who turns to their neighbor and says “I don’t get it.” And if pride is an issue, there is always the Internet.

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