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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Reviewing (briefly) The Nines

I was among the people who got to go to the screening last night of John August's new film The Nines. Also in attendance were Emily and my buddy Rack. John came and addressed us briefly before the film began, but did not stick around afterwards, so I was a bit disappointed to not be able to introduce myself to him. Some other time.

Since this was a relatively small and early screening, I don't want to include any real spoilers in here. So this review will be brief and somewhat vague, but should help to describe the film a bit. (Enough hedging qualifiers in that last line? ;-) )

Overall, I enjoyed the film. I'm a big fan of what I refer to as "mindfuck" movies, and the bulk of this film works on that level. It moves along at a really nice pace, and definitely gets you thinking throughout, trying to figure out exactly what the hell is going on.

John's done a good job of striking a balance between different tonal elements, shifting back and forth with apparent ease. There are moments that are genuinely funny, a few touching parts, and surprisingly a few chilling moments that evoke the horror genre. And yet, they all work.

I did have one problem with the film however. While the bulk of the film was thought-provoking and confusing enough to keep you guessing (though not too confusing to follow), the final 10 minutes or so of the film veer into a much-too literal exposition that explains everything. It almost felt like the end of the really old mysteries, where the detective gets all the suspects together in the room to explain whodunnit and how. Most importantly, however, I felt this didn't work stylistically with the rest of the film, and felt that there had to be a more subtle way of making the point.

Now I know that the script indeed set this up earlier (I won't explain further, so as not to spoil, but I am referring to a portion of Part II in the film). Even still, that bit didn't work for me, and felt a bit heavy-handed. Or like an easy way out.

That being said, I still "enjoyed the ride," and appreciated the points the film makes. There was one plot point that I felt was a bit of a hole, though in discussions with Rack on the way home, I think we came to a reasonable and acceptable explanation for it, so it doesn't bother me as much as it did at first.

So ultimately, I'd say this is a film worth seeing. Strong acting performances, especially from some of the supporting cast members. A plot/style that blends aspects of such films as The Butterfly Effect, The Matrix, Go and Groundhog's Day. Enjoyable moments throughout. And a generally memorable and somewhat thought-provoking plotline.

Well done, Mr. August! And best of luck with it.

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Blogger Trish said...

Great review. Don't you love screenings?

10:22 PM  

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