Nine is the cinematic adaptation of the musical adaptation of Federico Fellini’s 1963 film “8 1/2”. Directed by Rob Marshall Nine features the same lush production values of his previous musical cinematic outing “Chicago” and is jammed to the brim with famous faces with most of them being women of immense beauty.
The story follows infamous Italian film director Guido Contini (Day-Lewis) in his struggle to make his ninth movie. As he battles his inner demons which have blocked his creativity, all Guido has for his film is a title (Italia) and a basic set. Through use of creative explanation he dodges the media, the producers and even the cast and crew as he finds himself slipping deeper and deeper into writers block thanks to his uncompromising addiction to beautiful women and his inability to really connect on a truly emotional level with just one. Whether it is his wife Luisa (Marion Cotillard), his mistress Carla (Penelope Cruz), his mamma (Sophia Loren), his actress muse Claudia (Nicole Kidman) or any of the other women who have slowly integrated themselves into his subconscious, Contini is obsessed and unable to move forward until he faces down his demons.
Nine is full of cleverly filmed moody scenes and wonderfully choreographed dance routines. From the deeply sensual (Slightly uncomfortable to watch) performance by Penelope Cruz to the 1060’s fashion scene inspired performance by Kate Hudson, the dance numbers are the glue that holds this film together. Despite her good dancing performance Penelope Cruz is extremely outshone by the moving performance of Daniel Day-Lewis, Dame Judi Dench and wonderfully expressive Marion Cotillard.
At times I found myself looking at my watch wondering why there seemed to be so much filler in this movie and story lost its way at times. However great cinematography and wonderful dance and acting performances by the majority of the cast drew me back in to over all enjoy the film.
I did find myself deeply drawn into the inner battle of Guido Contini as he struggled with right and wrong and the moral dilemma of loving women too much. There are some great moments of dialogue including a conversation between Contini and the local Cardinal. The Cardinal encourages Guido to guide his imagination so that he builds great stories rather than just sleeze saying, “The imagination is God’s garden, don’t let the devil play in it.”
As Guido comes to the bottom of this valley of darkness, he tells those around him of the lesson that he has learnt, “You make one wrong turn and then every other turn becomes wrong and then you find yourself so far away from where you wanted to be.”
Perhaps this is the most valuable part of Nine for us to take away. After all the movie is flashy, sensual and full of great joyful and some heartfelt moments in the form of dance and song, but it all comes back to the central theme of what you truly lose when you lose your way and just what it takes to get back on track.
Reviewed by: Jon E Clist
Releases: 28th January 2010
Rating: M Sexual References
Running time: 119 minutes
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Dame Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Sophia Loren, Fergie and Marion Cotillard.
Director: Rob Marshall