I just watched The Nines, the drama starring Ryan Reynolds. You may have heard of it but probably don't know what it's about, and even after watching it I'm not quite sure what its intent was. Nevertheless, The Nines is one of the most refreshing films since Donnie Darko, and I don't make that comparison lightly.
First, The Nines is not Donnie Darko. It isn't as good, it isn't as intriguing and it isn't very confusing. But it is a weird movie that starts off one way and ends in an entirely different genre altogether. Having never looked at the synopsis, I had no idea what I was in store for, and The Nines certainly wasn't what I was expecting. A drama about a carefree actor who gets placed under house arrest by his PR agent after a drunken night of drugs turns into a family drama about a man who goes looking for help after his car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, and then turns into a story about a writer who must fire his chubby best friend, who was previously his PR agent and wife, from the leading role of his new television show. Ultimately, it is a "sci-fi" story, though what that means I'll leave a mystery, because you have to see it to understand - and I can't quite explain it myself.
Ryan Reynolds is slowly beginning to grow on me, after I counted him out when he starred in movies like Van Wilder and Blade: Trinity. While he has yet to star in a continuous string of truly good films, I am starting to see a pattern in his selection, and it's a good pattern. Even when his movies flop or aren't that good, you can see there was potential in them. As an actor, I am also starting to see potential, though he has yet to star in something that truly shows his range. That being said, he holds his own in The Nines and in fact is a very good choice for the role. He essentially has to play three different characters who are all similar but not, and all tied together in a very strange way. That isn't any easy thing to do, and Reynolds handles the role seamlessly.
The movie itself, however, is what really appealed to me. Again, it's hard to explain, but the movie is just strange enough to appeal to people who like strange movies. Even if it was simply three separate stories merged together in a single movie, the result would be pretty good, but writer/director John August takes things to the next level. I like strange, thought-provoking movies, and The Nines is certainly one of them. If you go on the message boards in IMDB, you will see some very interesting theories related to Man, God and Satan, though I must say, if that was the intent, it went right over my head. I view The Nines as smart but not incredibly complex, but perhaps I missed the whole meaning of the movie.
The Nines is not for everyone, but if you liked Donnie Darko, this is another mind-bending, albeit sanitized, film along the same thread. Again, don't expect Donnie Darko, but if you like movies where everything is not quite what they seem, then The Nines is a must-see.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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