The film consists of two stories, one being Walter’s discovery of the book and the other being about the main character in the book; a detective who refers to himself as “Fingerling”. Carrey essentially plays the two characters, one character being Walter reading the book and the other as Fingerling, who is portrayed in a dream sequence filled with film and pulp noir Mise en scène. Both characters begin seeing numerals propping up everywhere they look, a sense of déjà vu or odd coincidence, both characters take the same road into obsession with the number.
Jim Carrey has had a big impact in the comedy genre and it is safe to say that comedy has always been his comfort zone. But quite often we see Carrey out his comfort zone with films like; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or The Truman Show. You would never have guessed that Carrey would take on a lead role in a film like this, however after watching these films you couldn't ever imagine them without him. Vacillating between perplexity and psychoticism, Carrey makes a convincing transformation in The Number 23. From the dog catching nine to five ordinary Joe, to the mysterious and saxophone playing detective, both eventually spiral down a slow decent into madness.