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Friday, 24 August 2018

Retro Review: Nine Lives (2005)

Nine Lives
Cast: Eipidia Carillo, Robin Wright, Jason Isaacs, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Holly Hunter, Amanda Seyfried, Sissy Spacek, Joe Mantegna, Glenn Close
Genre: Drama
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $1.5 million 

Plot: Captives of the very relationships that define and sustain them, nine women resiliently meet the travails and disappointments of life

''Verging On Tedium, It Loses All Of Its Lives''

Nine Lives is one of the most disappointing and frustrating movies I've encountered in my life; despite the impressive casting, it turns out that this is a vapid, dreary and tedious watch that through its pedestrian approach, wastes the talents of Holly Hunter, Jason Isaacs, Joe Mantegna, Robin Wright and Glenn Close. A supposed tale of 10 min vignettes from the perspective and lives of nine different women, each individual story arc starts off well in their attempts to provide some type of insight or context of their situations where the women face a particular crisis. Yet in the end, these are resolved in such a way the outcomes of those involved are just too bleak, depressing and to an extent, mean-spirited for one to fully enjoy the film. But for Robin Wright's arc and the opening scene in a women's prison, the stories fail to leave and evoke any type of meaningful, engaging or discernable impression and conversation. 

They include one set in a woman's prison where a mother struggles to contact her daughter, another in a supermarket where a married woman bumps into her old flame and feelings resurface and one where a woman falls for a deaf man who is also a widower, who is grieving over the death of his wife. These sound interesting, and some of the performances are good (Robin Wright's and William Fichtner as the deaf guy in particular), but it still wasn't enough to sell it to me. I wanted more from Nine Lives. I wished that Robin Wright's story arc became the main focus of the film; they could have easily have expanded upon it and delved into it more than they did. 

I had trouble staying awake, and with that director and writer, Rodrigo Garcia's execution is too static and mundane. It also lacks energy, which Nine Lives desperately needed, - yet failed to generate in spades throughout. Garcia avoids delving into the meat and bones of the story arcs and instead chooses not to offer each of them some depth. It's like trying to start a car by turning on the ignition, only it won't start. That is Nine Lives as a movie: despite the twists, it never gets going fully and it feels as though those storylines are dropped and never followed through. It's a shame that once you are about to find out what happens next in the story, that scene is yanked away and another different scene is in its place. By then you ask yourself, ''why do that?''. 

The actors make do with reacting to nothingness and the stories never interconnect or link in such a way that could have provided Nine Lives something to build on. The performances are solid at best, but nothing groundbreaking.

What Glenn Close, Holly Hunter, Robin Wright and Joe Mantegna ever saw in the script, I can not for the life of me get my head around, because with just barely one, Nine Lives doesn't last long. 

Final Verdict:

Nine Lives fails to become nothing more than a prepped up indie movie - type mixed in with Paul Figgis's Crash; plus, it is also an incomplete one also.


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