Nine, the movie: Fake Italian goods but not Italian Celluloid!


by ramintork

I saw ‘Nine’ the movie last night. I think I’ve become Hollywoodophobic lately, well not lately; perhaps more so for a few years. With a few exceptions Hollywood even when it tries to make Art, fakes Art, or sometimes with massive spending they make the most elaborate video game which is entertaining and is so big that like a non-believer in a stadium with a Billy Graham’s evangelical mass gathering, you rather not complain!

So what is the plot?

Famous film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) struggles with his personal and professional life crisis. At the same time, he must strike a balance among the demands of the numerous women in his life, including his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penélope Cruz), and his confidant (Judi Dench) and his movie doesn’t even have a script.
If it had been turned to a comedy, the juggling act would have worked, given depth it could had been a good drama, mixed with a mix bag of songs some of which were admittedly good, but too much cutting across and jumping it somehow didn’t work!

Everything was in place “adaptation of Federico Fellini's autobiography”, a superb cast, delicious curvy beauties (Penélope Cruz looked stunning) and with some digital magic and dark lighting (that did not make you think about Nicole Kidman’s cosmetic surgery) you were convinced Nicole did look like the 50-60s ‘La dolce vita’ beauty Anita Ekberg. It had visual interest, film entusiast’s nostalga, even the long pebble roads and the Trevi fountain and Rome as the star should had worked but somehow didn’t!

Daniel Day Lewsi was Italian all the way even in his body posture. He was like Marcello Mastroianni in that espresso overdosed, chain smoking slightly bird of prey type postures that we used to see in those black and white fellini’s leading men and which also reminded me of my Italian womanizer stocks and bonds trader friend.So what was wrong?

I don’t know maybe it was just me and my mood lately, maybe it came across like a fake orgasm or perhaps it simply lacked entertainment. Perhaps a leading man, who was a habitual lier and used women did not warm up to me. Perhaps the Penélope Cruz acting as a love victim like the overdosed Emma (Yvonne Furneaux) of ‘La dolce vita’ was accepted in the 60s Italian movies but did not cross over to modern times.

They even threw in the replacement kid from ‘Cinema Paradiso’ and put him in black and white grass fields and put in the vivacious Fergy as the local gypsy prostitute that gives the kid his sexual awakening.

The problem is it was forced, it was faked and I blame it on the script and the directing. OK, the film was suppose to show the chaotic life of the Fellini but a clever Artist director would invent, would know what works and what doesn’t he would stream line the musical scenes of the lamenting man, he would make his hero more appealing despite his misgivings (so Fellini made his leading man an addict to women and the night life but the lost cause journalist was still more appealing) and not a guy who is trying to get away and go to rehab as a sex addict.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t Daniel Day Lewis, it was the script and the director not for tweeking it and turning this to a superb memorable film rather than what it was.

The director forgot a simple rule, the audience must, must, must care for what happens to the hero and not get lost. The character can get lost if he must but the loyalty of the audience to the character must be maintained.Thank Goodness that with the superb acting you could over look the yawny bits.

Do I recommend you seeing it? Despite all that I said there are certain films that you have to see because you would need closure therapy if you don’t and this is one of them so if you are a film enthusiast still go and see it but except for some good scenes don’t expect to be dazzled, and don’t expect too much.


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I like your review

by Monda on

I saw Nine on the day it came out.  I was surely excited about the plot, being a Fellini fan and Daniel Day Lewis's, I thought it was a brilliant choice of actor. Who is more versatile in physical movements and accents than Lewis?

At first Nine reminded me of Chicago and some other overdone Hollywood movies. Then I reminded myself that "All That Jazz" was also made in Hollywood.  In fact Nine had a lot of A.T.J, with Roy Schieder's (forgot his charachter's name) existential dilemma, as the main plot in a similar musical format.  i also liked Nine's choreography, way before Penelope Cruz did her very sexy thing.  Her suicide scene was rather corny, but forgiven.

I enjoyed Nine for what it was, no comparison to 8-1/2 or anything Fellini but visually attractive, nice choice of actors (even Kidmann wasn't too American).  This movie tried its darnest to incorporate the Italian charm without alienating its American viewers.

Mort Gilani

9 after 8 1/2

by Mort Gilani on

The movie title, plot line, and the protagonist name imply a succession of 8 ½. I have not seen Nine, but I think the director consciously chose mise en scenes with a fake touch to show life in film industry in line with Fellini’s film tradition and themes.


Ramin, talking of Daniel Day Lewis

by mannya2001 on

I suggest you get permission from U2 record company, to use the song "In the name of the father" - father:meaning Iran- as the official tune/music for ICC.

Also, I just had an idea for your organization that can be a nice publicity campaign.

If possible get someone in Iran, to light a torch, from the Zoroastrian temple (where they claim fire been kept going for past 3000 years) and have it somehow passed to a neighboring country. From there, through a loose connection of people - iranians/non iranians- the torch will go around the globe generating public awareness.  You should see how the Olympic Committee handled that to make it go right.

This actually is a plan that can become practical.  why? because you can actually rely on non-iranians to  help with process.  Plus, they would have no fear of persecution and they would like to get some attention themselves from their local news.

You can easily call up local running, bicycling , human rights organizations to take up that feat. 

You would get the skeleton (meaning individuals and organizations) interested to sign up first.  Your last challenge/act  would be to get the torch out of Iran.

Let me know.  If you don't do it,  I will do it sometime in June/July. 

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

I didn't watch it yet ...

Thank you for your review .


Yes I still recommend seeing it

by ramintork on

It is just that if you've seen the original Fellini movies you might say nice homage but lets go and see the original.

Still, superb acting makes up for the directing and scripts short comings. Maybe we've developed European taste and if the film had subtitles we would feel different (just like sitting at an ordinary cafe feels different when on Holiday!)

I also blame it on the TV overdose, as audiences it is tough to dazzle us when we've seen so much.

Perhaps as a twenty something seeing those beautiful Fellini Italian Goddesses in black and white it create a different sensation but after years of seeing musical videos we've got used to it?

Darius Kadivar

Good Critic Ramin Jaan

by Darius Kadivar on

I haven't seen it yet and to be honest when I heard the title a few weeks ago I thought it was the stop motion film 9 produced by Tim Burton ;0)

To be quite honest since last year's Cannes Film Festival selection, I have become a little bored with movies. I tend to wait for their DVD release which is not a good thing cause nothing can replace the movie theater's magic and being in the dark with other people and vibrate to the same emotions.

I mean I don't see how Avatar could be seen anywhere else than on that 3D screen.

But I feel that today more and more people are looking for escape at the Theaters.

All the great London Musicals are hitting Paris and the Sound of Music Stage Musical has been a Great Hit and the irony is that we are expecting Les Miserables soon. Just imagine an English Musical on the French masterpiece by Victor Hugo crossing the channel to be performed in English in France. ;0)

Still I will try to see 9 when it hits the screen here be it for the excellent actors and pretty female stars.

Thanks for your interesting review.



Judge it for yourself

by ramintork on

I would like to hear your opinion.