Home > Reviews > THE NUMBER 23 – Harry Gregson-Williams

THE NUMBER 23 – Harry Gregson-Williams

February 23, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I’m always excited when Jim Carrey plays is straight, having witnessed his superb performances in films like The Truman Show, Man on the Moon, and The Majestic; however, his run of dramatic successes had to end eventually – and end it did, with director Joel Schumacher’s paranoiac thriller The Number 23. Carrey plays oridinary family man Walter Sparrow, a dog catcher for the Department of Animal Control, with a loving wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen), and a teenage. However, after Agatha buys an odd novel with the central premise concerning the number 23 as a birthday gift for Walter, his life quickly unravels: he becomes obsessed with the story, believing the mystery about the number 23 to be true, and finding many coincidences and parallels between the book and his own life.

Harry Gregson-Williams’ music creates an unsettling aural world of fear and confusion. Nervous, skittery string work overlaid with a plethora of moody electronic effects build an atmosphere of chaos and suspicion. Martin Tillman’s electric cello, plus various other wailing string instruments, keep the listener teetering on the edge of sanity, while being called beyond it by sampled cooing choral effects.

“Fingerling’s Childhood” offers the album’s only melodic respite, and thereafter the score settles down into a rhythm of muted orchestral performances overlaid by electronic percussion, sampled vocal effects, and surprisingly effective ethnic flutes, which somehow give the score an unusual, exotic tinge.

It’s not easy listening by any means – the score is dense, and claustrophobic, and never really allows the listener chance to process the off-kilter noises, but its effective in context. The conclusive cue, “Atonement”, while remaining true to the style of the score which preceded it, adopts a darkly satisfying orchestral sweep to bring things to a fine finish.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • TRACK LISTING: 1. Opening Titles (3:51)
  • Fingerling’s Childhood (3:02)
  • Suicide Blonde (7:31)
  • Ned (2:56)
  • 11:12 p.m. (3:58)
  • Finishing The Book (9:03)
  • Laura Tollins (3:17)
  • Room 23 (5:34)
  • Atonement (4:55)

Running Time: 44 minutes 07 seconds

New Line Records NLR-39081 (2007)

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