NINE DAYS – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Nine Days is the feature film debut of writer and director Edson Oda. If this is the way Oda’s mind works, I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. The film is a stunning and genuinely imaginative idea of how unborn souls make their way to earth. It is set somewhere in the universe with particular rules in place.
Nine Days tells the story of Will (Winston Duke). Who, from the comfort of his living room, in his home somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, watches human life unfurl on a series of vintage TV sets. He is assigned a certain number of people to keep an eye on and record their antics on VHS tapes. He cannot interfere, only observe and take notes to be filed away as they live out their lives on the screen. One screen per person. However, when one of his favorite people suddenly dies, she leaves a vacancy for another life. Will sets out to interview and select the ideal replacement candidate over the course of nine days, issuing a series of challenges to determine their emotional and spiritual fitness. In the end, only one soul can be born and make the journey. The rest of the applicants face oblivion after experiencing one final wish orchestrated by Will. They get to choose a moment of what life on earth might have been like had they made the cut.
The ensemble acting is excellent, with stand-out chemistry between Winston Duke and Zazie Beetz. The scenes between their characters of Will and Emma are genuinely heartfelt and packed with emotion. The cinematography in this film is from Wyatt Garfield. It’s moody and soaked in tones of dusty muted colors. It works well with the haunting music of Antonio Pinto and the soundscape of Mac Smith. This is the kind of film you feel all around you because of the atmosphere it creates in the theater and not because of any IMAX flash and trash tricks.
When asked what inspired this film, the Japanese Brazilian writer/director Edson Oda is quoted as saying:
“Nine Days is a convergence of everything I was going through in my life up until now. This story comes from the mindset of moving from childhood to adulthood, losing a family member, quitting my job, leaving my home and coming to America to make movies, learning to be alone in a new country, and going through yet more struggles.”
I give Nine Days a 4.5-star rating. It’s a beautiful and thoughtful film not to be missed.
Directed by: Edson Oda
Written by: Edson Oda
Selig Rating: 4.5 Stars
Running Time: 2h 4min
Drama / Fantasy
Limited Theatrical Release: August 6th at Angelika Film Center & Cafe Plano and Dallas, AMC Dine-in Mesquite 30. AMC Lake Worth 14
Starring: Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Benedict Wong, David Rysdahl, Tony Hale
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.