The Number 23 Official Poster and Memorabilia

 

 

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The Number 23 by Harry Gregson-Williams


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Number 23 (Soundtrack) by Harry Gregson-Williams

The Number 23 (2007)
Composed by Harry Gregson-Williams
New Line Records

Rating: 3/10

Buy The Number 23 by Harry Gregson-Williams  from Amazon.com

 


Listen to this soundclip of The Number 23Opening Titles (374 kb)

Listen to this soundclip of The Number 23Fingerling's Childhood (420 kb)

 

“So many contemporary, psycho-thrillers these days seem to beg for these synthesized, sonic-tugowars, so, most regrettably, their respective soundtracks end up in a great pool of audio soup that just isn't all that tasty. ”

The Sound a Number Makes
Review by Christopher Coleman
 

I wonder what sound a number would make.  Would a "1" be a single, high pitched note going on for eternity?  Would a "2" be consonant or dissonant?  What about a "3?"  Both the potential for beautiful harmonies and ear splitting instability would exist for a number like 3, I suppose.  What about the number 23?  It could be a variety of tonal arrangements or a cavalcade of discord.  And if a number could have a sound, perhaps it could have its own music.  And if a number could have it's own music, who would be best to compose that music?

"23" has been well documented throughout history as a seemingly mysterious number of the universe - discovered or interpreted to mean or represent countless things: from the quantity of human chromosomes to the final Apocalypse.  The number has become an obsession for numerologists throughout history and now, most recently for our old friend, Jim Carrey, in Joel Schumacher's THE NUMBER 23. 

Carrey jumps into the dual role of Walter Sparrow and Fingerling in the film THE NUMBER 23.  The film is a psychological journey of Walter Sparrow who becomes obsessed with a book about Fingerling who is, himself, obsessed with the number 23.  In the process of reading the book, Walter absorbs Fingerling's obsession with the number and comes to believe that the book's narrative and his own life are intertwined. 

To underscore this conceptually ambitious project, came composer Harry Gregson-Williams.  Known for electronic, musical atmospheres, at least as well as his melodic themes, Harry Gregson-Williams does seem a like a good enough choice for a film of this sort.  Following on the heals of Tony Scott's DE JA VU, a score that was already a feast of electronic mayhem, Gregson-Williams dives several meters deeper into the the darker realms of digital soundscapes and score for THE NUMBER 23.

Shumacher's latest film truly allows Gregson-Williams' electronica-persona to assert itself again.  The score has more in common with THE RUNDOWN, SPY GAMES, or MAN ON FIRE, than it does with the more lyrical LION, WITCH, and the WARDROBE or  VERONICA GUERIN.   The electronic rumblings, chops, whirls, clicks, crashes, the reversed cymbals and pads of the "Opening Titles" (1) drub the listener for the better part of 3 minutes, until it finally gives way to an apprehensible bit of melody at its conclusion.   The jittery main theme introduced in track 1 takes mental break until "Ned" (4) and then resurfaces again in track 7, "Laura Tollins."  It is this theme that gives THE NUMBER 23 any sort of musical through-line at all.  On this short 44 minute soundtrack, there are but a few moments that lift out of the electrified, psycho-muck and mire.  "Fingerlings Childhood" (2) is soft and dreamy theme lead by flute and backed by gently swaying strings.   Of course such a beautiful environment is not the mainstay of this film or score.  As we hit the 2/3 mark (gasp that's a 23 with a "/" through it!), the piece is invaded by those ominous electronics and tremolo strings...and all that was pleasurable quickly vanishes.  The remainder of the soundtrack ebbs and flows in a variety of synthetic tides building up to the eerie, "Room 23" (8).  As the film and score reach their conclusion, the jungle of digital dissonance is peeled away one last time as "Atonement" (9) brings a subtle and guardedly light end to the numerical nightmare.

Musically, THE NUMBER 23 is a let down - especially in terms of the listening experience outside of the film.  Perhaps it's not as big a let down as the film itself though.   As much as Jim Carrey is trying to spread his wings outside of the comedy genre...he'd do well to be a tad more picky.    Some film music fans might say the same thing to the composer.  Be that as it may, fans can hope for something more embraceable with Harry Gregson-Williams upcoming projects like:  SHREK THE THIRD, later this year, and PRINCE CASPIAN in 2008. 

So many contemporary, psycho-thrillers these days seem to beg for these synthesized, sonic-tugowars, so, most regrettably, their respective soundtracks end up in a great pool of audio soup that just isn't all that tasty.  If a number could make a sound and have it's own music, is this what "23" would be?  Perhaps the Mayan apocalypse sounds something like this, but I certainly hope our human chromosomes are a little more stable than this score would represent.


 Rating: 3/10

 

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Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Opening Titles 3:51 **
2 Fingerling's Childhood 3:02 ***
3 Suicide Blonde 7:31 *
4 Ned 2:56 **
5 11:12 p.m. 3:58 *
6 Finishing the Book 9:03 *
7 Laura Tollins 3:17 *
8 Room 23 5:34 *
9 Atonement 4:55 **
  Total Running Time (approx) 44 minutes  

 

 
   

 

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