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.