Nine Days Movie Review

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.

Joker Movie Review

Creating a villain for the sake of opposing the hero or heroine is easy. It’s harder to create a three dimensional character who is still a villain, but is just as human as the hero or heroine.

The new movie, Joker, is a standalone/maybe prequel in the world of Batman. Set somewhere in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s, Arthur Fleck/Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) lives in a Gotham City plagued by crime and poverty. Arthur earns his living as a clown for hire, though his professional goal is to be a stand up comedian.

He lives with his mother, Penny Fleck (Frances Controy) in a beaten down apartment. He dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol, Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), a Johnny Carson like late night talk show host. He also suffers from mental illness and has daydreams of dating his neighbor, Sophie (Zazie Beetz).

Over the course of the film, Arthur slowly transforms into the villain that we know of as the Joker.

I admire that director Todd Phillips and his co-screenwriter Scott Silver tried to tackle the very complicated ideas of mental health and economic disparity. However, I found the violence to be a little much for my taste. The film was also a little on the long side.

Since the release of the film last weekend, there have been some concern that the portrayal of Arthur’s mental illness might be a trigger for those who suffer in real life. While I can completely understand that concern, I am also concerned that some in the audience might come out of the theater with the general idea that everyone who suffers from mental illness has violent or criminal tendencies.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

%d bloggers like this: