Sunday, August 8, 2021

Nine Days - Movie Review

The Movie: Nine Days

The Director: Edson Oda

The Cast: Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Benedict Wong, Tony Hale, Bill Skarsgård, David Rysdahl, Arianna Ortiz

The Story: A reclusive man conducts a series of interviews with human souls for a chance to be born.

The Review:
From 2009 through 2017 Edson Oda directed a series of short films so this movie may be his first feature film but I would say he is no novice behind that camera. That being said, this is still an incredible debut feature film from just about every perspective. Everything about this movie is meticulously crafted and the end result is a story that feels as beautiful as it looks. The production design, the lighting, the wardrobe, the framing, and everything is just so intentionally woven together to create layers of depth to the point of the whole thing being nothing short of cinematic poetry.

Am I going a little deep with that description? Sure, but I honestly feel this movie is worthy of some hype if not straight up hyperbole because it's just that good. There's no flashy bells and whistles but the story is very well thought out, the pacing is very consistent and deliberate and, thanks to some standout performances, it is engaging from the opening scene right up until the screen fades to black and credits begin to roll. Even the fade to black at the end has a ton of meaning and the whole thing is just such a satisfying experience, the kind that makes you think about life and our place in the universe.

Winston Duke fills the lead role in this movie as a man named Will who has lived a life and now is burdened with the task of choosing souls who will go on to live their own lives on earth, or not. When I say he fills the role, I mean that in every way possible. Most of you will recognize the actor from his turn in Black Panther as the mighty M'Baku or maybe you saw him in Jordan Peele's Us as the patriarch of the movie's family. I think his work in this movie far eclipses those or anything else he has done and this performance could and should put him in the top tier of mainstream actors working in the business today. This is by no means the type of wild, flamboyant performance that you see steamrolling through awards season, it is very subtle and subdued yet no less worthy by any means.

Co-stars Benedict Wong and Zazie beets can also be seen in various Marvel productions so from an acting perspective, this could be considered a team up of sorts. The movie also shows how actors who are in comic book films are some of the best around and should be given just as much recognition for the work in them as any other type of movie. Rounding out the primary cast is Bill Skarsgård who is most known recently for his work in the It franchise as the iconic clown so this role really gives the actor a chance to literally put his face forward and he takes full advantage of every opportunity. Again, none of the performances are super flashy and none of them deliver knock out blows but each of them fit their parts perfectly and are integral cogs in the overall story telling machine.

There is so much a person could talk about and discuss when it comes to the life lessons at play in this movie although I am not going to take that opportunity here. Just know that the movie is very good. It is entertaining, it has endlessly interesting characters, and it truly does make you think and not in any sort of doom and gloom sense, this is an honest look at humanity and is a quite uplifting experience when it's all said and done. It's not a feel good movie in the classic sense but it will definitely make you feel a little better about human beings and each of our places in the world we live in.

The Verdict:
Nine Days is a beautiful movie. It is the type of cinematic experience that you hope for when you enter a theater or sit down in the comfort of your own home. Edson Oda's movie, his first full length feature, is a revelation in storytelling and it the type of rare treat that only comes along once in a great while.

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