Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Nine Days Review: An Exquisite Film About Beauty And Life

Winston Duke	...	Will Zazie Beetz	Zazie Beetz	...	Emma Benedict Wong	Benedict Wong	...	Kyo Tony Hale	Tony Hale	...	Alexander Jeffrey Hanson	Jeffrey Hanson	...	Conductor Bill Skarsgård	Bill Skarsgård	...	Kane David Rysdahl	David Rysdahl	...	Mike Elizaveta Shaikhulina	Elizaveta Shaikhulina	...	Violinist Arianna Ortiz	Arianna Ortiz	...	Maria Taran Marshall	Taran Marshall	...	Bully Perry Smith	Perry Smith	...	Anne Caleb Fralick	Caleb Fralick	...	Bully 2 Geraldine Hughes	Geraldine Hughes	...	Colleen Amy Brown	Amy Brown	...	Candidate 1 Sterlin English	Sterlin English	...	Rick (14 Years Old) David H. Stevens	David H. Stevens	...	Candidate 2 Erika Vásquez	Erika Vásquez	...	Luiza (as Erika Vasquez) Álvaro Cortez	Álvaro Cortez	...	Fernando (as Alvaro Cortez) Anthony Leger	Anthony Leger	...	Candidate 3 Lisa Starrett	Lisa Starrett	...	Amanda Cherie Julander	Cherie Julander	...	Aunt / Cecily's Mom Brandy Pitcher	Brandy Pitcher	...	Amanda's Mom Eric Ramaekers	Eric Ramaekers	...	Amanda's Dad

Release date: August 6, 2021
Running time: 124 minutes
Writer and Director: Edson Oda
Cast: Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Benedict Wong, David Rysdahl, Marianna Oritz, Tony Hale, Bill Skarsgard

Will (Winston Duke) spends his days in a remote outpost watching the live Point of View (POV) on TV’s of people going about their lives, until one subject perishes, leaving a vacancy for a new life on earth. Soon, several candidates — unborn souls — arrive at Will's to undergo tests determining their fitness, facing oblivion when they are deemed unsuitable. But Will soon faces his own existential challenge in the form of free-spirited Emma (Zazie Beetz), a candidate who is not like the others, forcing him to turn within and reckon with his own tumultuous past. Fueled by unexpected power, he discovers a bold new path forward in his own life. Making his feature-film debut after a series of highly acclaimed and award-winning short films and music videos, Japanese Brazilian director Edson Oda delivers a heartfelt and meditative vision of human souls in limbo, aching to be born against unimaginable odds, yet hindered by forces beyond their will...

Eliza de Azevedo Brown	...	Amanda (8 Years Old) (as Eliza De Acevedo Brown) Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Liliana Arredondo	Liliana Arredondo	...	Officer 2 Kadrolsha Ona Carole	Kadrolsha Ona Carole	...	Restaurant Patron dark medium hair to wall Mateo d'Amato	Mateo d'Amato	...	Additional Voices (voice) Bryce Fernelius	Bryce Fernelius	...	Officer 1 Ben Governale	Ben Governale	...	Candidate Victor Medina	Victor Medina	...	Officer 3 Tony Rivas	Tony Rivas	...	Preist Officiant Logan Smith	Logan Smith	...	Child (voice)
Nine Days is going to be a polarizing film, because it does so much right that I loved it.  The film starts with a slow, confusing style that will keep the audience wondering what is going on.  Nine Days has an interesting setup, showing Will in a remote house in a desolate area watching VHS tapes of various people's lives.  And the film doesn't explain much after that, choosing to instead let the viewer learn more about the process along with the eventual candidates.  It is an interesting choice but I loved it.  I liked the mystery of the setup and the simple, yet stylish and deliberate layout of Will's work space.  And the overall style bleeds into the clothes (which have a classic look to them) and the overall cabin that doesn't seem to utilize much technology.  It seems almost dreamlike at times, this strange cabin in the middle of nowhere with this quiet, yet thoughtful observer.   

The film has a wonderful score to accompany this journey, with a wild west or pioneer feel to the music.  Lots of string instruments and individual musical tracks accompany this film, with a consistent theme of guitars and violins to drive home some of the stories and the isolating nature of Will's existence.  And it is this combination of a deliberate, classic style and string instruments that makes this film evoke other confusing but beautiful films.  Cloud Atlas comes to mind as a movie that was also wonderfully done, yet didn't explain everything.  It's one of those films that you just have to appreciate and live in the moment with.  

And the film progresses at a steady, measured, and deliberate pace.  Nine Days trims some of the contestants as the film progresses, letting the viewer get a better handle on what Will is looking for, while also not quite giving the viewer all the information.  But this film will also help the audience appreciate life.  There are some wonderful scenes in the film where people observe beautiful moments in life; a moment that reaffirms the viewer's own appreciation of life and natural beauty.  And often, these moments are not complex or in depth, just simple appreciations of nature and the natural beauty of around us.  This movie will not be for everyone, but for those that it calls to, you will be floored by the natural beauty and pure joy in this picture.

Nine Days is an exquisite film, with a strange but beautiful premise, wonderful music, and amazing, personable performances by this cast.

Watch it.

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Nine Days is in theaters on August 6, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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