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23 (film): Wikis


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French DVD Cover for 23.
Directed by Hans-Christian Schmid
Produced by Jakob Claussen
Thomas Wöbke
Written by Hans-Christian Schmid
Michael Gutmann
Michael Dierking
Starring August Diehl
Fabian Busch
Dieter Landuris
Jan Gregor Kremp
Music by Norbert Jürgen Schneider
Distributed by Buena Vista International (Germany)
Release date(s) 1998
Running time 99 min.
Country Germany
Language German

23 is a 1998 German film about a young hacker Karl Koch, who died on May 23, 1989, a presumed suicide. It was directed by Hans-Christian Schmid, who also participated in screenwriting. The title derives from the protagonist's obsession with the number 23, a phenomenon often described as apophenia. Although the film was well received by critics and audiences, its accuracy has been vocally disputed by some witnesses to the real-life events on which it was based. Schmid subsequently co-authored a book that, tells the story of the making of 23, and also details the differences between the movie and the actual events.[1]



In Germany in the 1980s—at the height of the Cold War—the 19-year-old Karl Koch (August Diehl) finds the world around him threatening and chaotic. Inspired by the fictitious character Hagbard Celine (from Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus! Trilogy), he starts investigating the backgrounds of political and economic power and discovers signs that make him believe in a worldwide conspiracy.

At a meeting with hackers, Karl gets to know the student David (Fabian Busch). David and Karl are able to hack into the global data network—which is still, at this point, in its early stages—and their belief in social justice propels them into espionage for the KGB. Driven by contacts with a drug dealer—and by increasing KGB pressure to hack successfully into foreign systems—Karl spirals into a cocaine dependency and grows increasingly alienated from David.

In a drug-addled state, Karl begins to sit in front of his computer for days at a time. Perpetually sleepless, he also grows increasingly delusional. When David publicly reveals the espionage activity in which the two men have been engaged, Karl is left alone to face the consequences. Collapse soon follows. Karl is taken to a hospital to deal with his drug addiction and mysteriously dies afterward.

See also


  1. ^ Schmid, Hans-Christian & Gutmann, Michael (2001), Drei Drehbücher. Nach fünf im Urwald / 23 / Crazy, Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, ISBN 3462030493 

External links

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