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Friday, February 23, 2007

The Number 23, God Grew Tired of Us 

The Number 23:

During the screening of The Number 23, something I haven’t seen in ten years or more happened. The film caught and the frame melted. Instinctively I checked my watch. Relief: It was only an hour and 17 minutes in, so this was just a coincidence. No elaborate marketing ploy was underway, and the sinister properties of 23 hadn’t reached out from the celluloid to send us grave omens.

Not that I was scared. I don’t think anyone at the screening was. The fixation of Walter Sparrow’s (Jim Carrey) paranoia plays more like a game for the audience than a genuinely chilling conspiracy of numbers. Hunting and pecking. Searching out the film’s corners for more easter eggs. Imagine, if you will, attempting to submerge yourself in a film’s atmosphere while constantly outside of it, looking for what amounts to a series of sight gags.

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God Grew Tired of Us:

Danielle, a friend of mine, once worked with four of the lost boys of Sudan in AmeriCorps. Her reaction to them was much the same as my own to God Grew Tired of Us. For people who have experienced such unbelievable horror and atrocity—new to no continent on earth, but revisited with too much frequency in Sudan—they are almost universally kind, even sweet. They, perhaps more than anyone else on earth, have reason to be murderous, hateful, or just bitter. Instead, in Danielle’s words, they are “sincerely kind, open, warm people.” That they can recover from such horrible trauma is worthy of comment. That they carry no hate in their hearts is heroic.

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