Nine Days Movie Review
In Nine Days, an aspiring jazz musician is killed in an accident and sent to the afterlife, where he teams up with a disconnected soul and is then reincarnated as a cat. Sorry, that’s the plot for Disney’s Soul… this one is about a dude who sits in a house and watches the lives of others on video tape, while evaluating a group of souls to determine who will be elevated to “living” status.
It may not sound like thrilling cinema, and it really isn’t, but with his feature length debut, writer/director Edson Oda offers up an entrancing, inventive, and melancholic experience. Starring Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, and Benedict Wong, Nine Days could also be the indie drama tie-in to the multiverse (all three stars play Marvel characters) you never knew you needed and likely will never watch.
There is something wistful about the film, a deep-seeded sense of longing and desire that infiltrates every moment and frame of the story. Nine Days is an incredibly mature production, one that defies Oda’s experience as a filmmaker; confidently told and carried, the movie moves in unexpected and unpredictable directions, and yet its outcome feels predetermined.
It’s a beautifully made film, with terrific performances from all involved.
And yet the emotion of the story, though ever present, remained just out of my grasp. As Oda seeks to draw you deeper into the mind, heart, and soul (does he have a soul? Is he a soul?) of his lead protagonist, Nine Days didn’t quite consume me in the way I was hoping for. Expecting. Needed. This is an intensely emotional film, but I felt at times as though I were Will (Duke) watching one of his souls through a television screen. I suppose I was watching through a television screen, but the story never entirely resonated with me.
A debut worthy of immense respect and deftly told and acted, Nine Days is an incredible film in many ways; it simply isn’t, or wasn’t, the film for me.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.