Humans have been asking existential questions about life and how we came to be since the beginning of time.
The new film, Nine Days, presents this conundrum to the audience. Will (Winston Duke) is a cosmic gatekeeper of sorts. His job is to sort out which souls are sent to Earth to be born and which stay in their present form. With a new batch of recruits coming to his door, he relies on his friend Kyo (Benedict Wong) for companionship and advice. Among those that are eager to live are Alex (Tony Hale), Emma (Zazie Beetz), and Kane (Bill Skarsgård). Will has nine days to parse out the candidates.
In addition, he spends his days keeping an eye on those he has previously send to be born via a bunch of old school televisions. Taking copious notes and recording their actions on VHS tapes, he starts to obsess over a violin virtuoso named Amanda.
While most of the candidates are accepting of Will and the process, Emma asks questions that start to challenge him.
The acting is fantastic, especially from Duke and Beetz. As Will, he is so held together that when he explodes, he really explodes. Speaking in clipped tones in which every syllable is enunciated, you can feel the emotional energy it takes to keep the lid on. On the other side of the scale, Emma is so free-spirited and full of life, that you just want to take that ride with her, regardless of the destination.
The problem is that the film drags on. Whatever existential question that the narrative is supposed to ask is never truly answered. By the 2/3rds mark, I was bored and ready to see the credits roll.
Do I recommend it? Not really.
Nine Days is presently in theaters.