In Theatres: 
Dec 25, 2009
Running Time: 
110 Minutes

In 1973 Maury Yeston began working on the music for what would be the Tony Award Winning play Nine, inspired by his obsession with Fredrico Fellini’s film 8 ½ (the title referring to this being an extra half credit to Fellini’s body of work ending with 8 ½). The musical was a success thanks to Yeston, Mario Fratti, and later credited Arthur Kopit. In 2007 it was announced that Rob Marshall (Chicago) would begin working on a film adaptation for the Weinstein Company. Written for the screen by Anthony Minghella and Michael Tolkien. What evolved is a lighter less substance oriented version of Nine that, while musically it has its moments, simply cannot exist in both planes as both musical and film.

As both a laymen film lover and a critic its hard to ignore the tell tale signs that a film may have something wrong with it. First off the casting for this film was astronomically large. You’ve got Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood) fronting the film supported by Oscar Winner Judi Dench (Quantum of Solstice), Oscar Winner Marion Cotillard (Public Enemies), Oscar Winner Penelope Cruz (Volver), Oscar Winner Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge), Oscar Winner Sophia Loren (La ciociara/ Two Women), Grammy Winner Fergie, and Kate Hudson. For a film with just under two hours to make its mark and leave you satisfied it had a lot more to live up to, especially with a much stronger cast then its predecessor, Rob Marshall’s film adaptation of Chicago.

As always Daniel Day-Lewis is a powerhouse in his role, the only time his character loses his edge is when he sings, but the man seems to have a knack for portraying the downtrodden. As film maker Guido Contini Day-Lewis is charming, vulnerable, despicable, and totally in tune with the right emotive qualities needed to create this character. You understand his narrative storyline for the most part as a man who remains a child perverted by love and struggling to find himself within its meaning by creating differing relationships with all the women in his life, past and present. This of course is my understanding after researching. To grasp this from the film is relatively hard as the film feels crowded by the musical numbers which mostly fall flat and over emphasize on their flash rather then their substance. I was disappointed with more then half the musical numbers and surprised that Judi Dench came off so uninspired. Thank goodness for Marion Cotillard whose performance in the film both musically and other was so incredible. Her character was the glue that kept what little narrative on Contini’s life, that we could understand amidst the flash, alive. Poor execution and even poorer delivery hoping to stay alive on the power of big names and established actresses with some musical credibility. As a critic I have to admit the sets were amazing and some of the musical numbers spot on but as a film lover I found the film to be boring, over bearing, and unsure of what it was aiming for.

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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