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USA 2007
Directed by
John August
98 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

The Nines

Three actors play three characters (Ryan Reynolds as Gary/Gavin/Gabriel), Hope Davis as Sarah/Susan/Sierra, and Melissa McCarthy as Margaret/Melissa/Mary with Elle Fanning, younger sister of Dakota and already a seasoned performer, as Noelle). in this convoluted, opaque but intriguing directorial debut by screenwriter John August whose notable credits include Go, and for Tim Burton  Big Fish, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and Corpse Bride as well as a couple of Charlie’s Angels movies

Lying somewhere in the hinterland beyond Twilight Zone and a Charlie Kaufman film, The Nines relates three loosely connected stories which exist in parallel, intersect slightly but intentionally do not coalesce into a unified narrative. Well not one that most audience would count as such. The thematic result may be described as the vulnerability of subjective consciousness …or something like that -  as we follows the trials of, variously, a celebrity television actor, a television writer/producer and a video game designer in differing kinds of meltdown as their worlds come unstuck under bizarre,sanity-challenging circumstances and two very different women offer them succour.

Drawing on his own in-part autobiographical script, August shows himself to be a capable director whilst the cast of what is largely a three-hander are all on the money with Davis the strongest of the three in differntiating her characters,. Is there more here than meets the eye? It is almost impossible to say and that is many ways one of the film’s strengths – there is plenty here for audience interpretation.  If you like cinema that leaves you with more questions than answers this should be high on your to-see list.

DVD Extras: 2 separate commentaries, one with August and Ryan Reynolds, the other with August, editor Douglas Crise amd Melissa McCarthy; Deleted Scenes (with optional commentary); Alternate ending; Summing up The Nines, a behind-the-scenes featurette; God, a short film by August; Original theatrical trailer: English language subtitles.

Available from: Madman




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