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I watched this the other day after coming across it on IMDB because my boyfriend and I were talking about the types of films Ryan Reynolds gets cast in. This sounded different and I thought it could be quite interesting. Unfortunately, it was a little too odd in a way that just didn't make much sense to me.
The Nines was written and directed by John August, who has worked on various films including Charlie's Angels and Corpse Bride, though this seems to be his first big direction piece. We're introduced to Gary (Ryan Reynolds) an ex-actor who has put himself in a spot of trouble after setting fire to his ex-girlfriends stuff, drinking and driving, doing drugs and crashing his car, which is rather different to the cop role he played on TV in his acting career. He's put under house arrest and moved in to an empty house (a very nice one), where his publicist, Margaret (Melissa McCarthy, from Gilmore Girls) keeps an eye on him. He happens upon his neighbour, an attracting yet slightly strange woman, Sarah (Hope Davis), who become a friend and possibly more. But something's not quite right as he starts seeing and hearing things, and his neighbour starts mentioning something about looking for the nines.
The film then splits in to the next characters in two parts, so we see Reynolds play a videogame designer and a TV producer (Gavin and Gabriel), Melissa McCarthy plays Melissa and Mary, and Hope Davis plays Susan and Sierra. This is supposed to give more of a backstory on what's really going on, on who Reynolds really is, and who McCarthy and Davis really are too. So, to sum it up, there are three chapters and each key actor/actress plays a different character, but they're all linked in some way and it seems to involve 'The Nines'. I told you it was a little different.
The film really goes on to show the relationships between the characters and attempts to uncover the mystery of The Nines. I won't say any more on this, and I don't think I could even if I wanted to because I didn't really understand it myself. At least the characters were kept fairly minimal in terms of the most important protagonists, so we have : Gavin / Gary / Gabriel (Ryan Reynolds), Margaret / Melissa / Mary (Melissa McCarthy, Gilmore Girls), Susan / Sarah / Sierra (Hope Davis) and the little girl Noelle, who also has different roles in each chapter (Elle Fanning).
As for the acting, I thought this was actually very good for the most part with regards to all key actors. I love McCarthy and think she did a great job of making her characters believable and very watchable. Reynolds was also a fairly solid protagonist and I enjoyed watching him as he also came across quite naturally and believably. They made the film easier and more entertaining to watch, keeping it from being too dark or difficult to sit through.
The downside, in my opinion, was more regarding the confusing premise. I thought the concept and seeing the intertwining of character's lives was interesting, but the explanation for The Nines and what was actually going on could have been clearer. Perhaps I wasn't paying enough attention or I missed something, but by the end of the film I was left rather confused and a little put off by some bits of the explanation that I felt made the film far less gripping and believable (though I can't really say what I mean here without giving it away). I don't mind films that are a bit mind boggling, or the ones where you decide on your own explanation of events, but this kind of left it mid way. There was some resolution, I just didn't quite 'get it', which left me feeling a bit disappointed. I know it's one of those more existential storylines that makes you think about existence itself, which I liked, but I thought it could have been done that bit better to make it more profound and coherent (ie. if it were easier to understand, we could then think about it more!).
As for the atmosphere, I would say that the cast kept this more upbeat and bright than dark and gripping, which was probably a good thing given the confusion of the storyline, so it was easier to watch. I did think the script could have been tighter, wittier, quicker to keep up the pace, however. None the less, Reynolds was enjoyable to watch and seeing his confusion, how his life and what he thinks he knows start to crumble, was interesting and done in a fairly believable way.
If you like thinking a little abstractly and 'outside of the box', about existence and life itself, then this could be an interesting watch for you. Unfortunately, whilst I did find it easy enough to watch and quite enjoyable thanks to the cast, it only left me feeling a bit confused and wanting a better explanation. .
DVD released 2008, rated Certificate 15. DVD selling for £3.49 (Amazon).
Overall... Not the easiest to watch or understand, but so-so if you want a 'mind bender' flick. [Also reviewed by me, Cazkins, on DooYoo]