Review # 15 – Nine
I avoid Film/Musicals.
I avoid them like the plague – like watching one will infect my genitals with syphilitic boils and give me the voice of Donald Duck. If you want to watch a musical, watch a musical; with a little research and the glory of the internet, there is probably a playhouse within a hundred miles of you with a fine musical coming up (if not currently running!) that could probably use your money. If you want to watch a film, there are thousands of cinematic treasures out there to feast your eyes upon – again, a little research can go a long way.
Combine the two – I find it to be as awkward as combining DR Pepper and Mountain Dew. Yes, it can taste good if carefully done – try it if you don’t believe me – but if not perfect you will end up with a gut-wrenching cup of crap that, once started, you know you must finish. That is my feeling on film/musicals, and I group the following in together: Moulin Rouge, Chicago, Mama Mia, and Nine.
On paper – this film is KILLER. An aging Italian film director suffers from writers block. It is as strong a cast as you could EVER ask for – Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson, Sophia Loren, among others. Ok, the plot has promise, the cast is strong, the writing is good… then we hit the accents – everyone is supposed to be Italian in this, right…? DD Lewis pulled it off, but the rest – well they just distracted us by fading in and out… except when singing. Amazing that the characters kept dropping their accents, then, suddenly they sing and belt out these perfect accents. AMAZING!
That, by the way, was sarcasm.
Daniel Day Lewis can do little wrong. I have yet to see him in a role where I do not 100% believe he is what his character is. One of the greatest and most deserving male talents alive. Now, on the other hand, Penelope Cruz as a supporting – she does nothing extraordinary in this. With so many stars, her screen time is limited to the first half of the film, and 1 musical number. Was she the best supporting actress in the film…? Possibly. There are a ton though. I can only figure she has been nominated as this is a weak year for supporting actresses.
My advice, should you choose to sit down and watch this film: watch Daniel Day-Lewis and be awed. Look at the art direction, and look at the cinematography – both are beautiful. Watch the musical numbers and ponder this thought: would this break be better as a flash back, a day dream, a nightmare, or a mental break from reality? Because, in all honesty, they could have left the music at home (and about 20 million of the 80 million budget, which on a side note, this has only made 38 million worldwide, making this a huge flop) and made a much less frenetic, much easier to watch, much more dynamic film.