Ryan Reynolds (The Amityville Horror, Van Wilder) and Hope Davis (About Schmidt, Arlington Road) star in this clever, mind-bending thrill ride through the mind of an actor, a writer and a videogame designer who arguably controls them all. Written and Directed by John August (Writer of Go and Big Fish).
The Nines consists of three short films, each featuring the same actors in different – and sometimes overlapping – roles. Together, three stories form a single narrative that explores the relationships between author and character, actor and role, creator and creation. Alternately funny and unsettling, The Nines is like a riddle where the answer is the question: “How does it all add up?”
The Nines introduces itself as a strange alternating universe where nothing is ever quite what it seems. Like a weird intersection between Alice in Wonderland, The Matrix and Being John Malkovich, the movie takes on the concept of real versus imagined control and questions the relationships between those who make and those who are made. The film is really carried by Ryan Reynolds easy-going believability and Melissa McCarthy’s sweet and snappy humor mixed with a careful vulnerability. Despite these good and understated performances, there are several points in the movie that leaves one confused and wondering if this bizarre half-dream will ever make sense.
I won’t spoil the ending, but it definitely leaves the entire film and its real meaning entirely open to interpretation. While I enjoyed not being spoon-fed the obvious as is typical in most Hollywood flicks, this movie takes on a certain posed cerebralism in a conscious attempt not to give away all the answers that distracted rather than enhanced. The Special Features were helpful backups to the filmmaker’s expression of ideas, especially the featurette “Summing up The Nines”, but a film shouldn’t need to rely on these extras to enhance or explain the movie.
Overall, The Nines was entertaining, thought-provoking and worth the rental, but I won’t be running out to get a copy of my own.
Review by Marie Holzer