Famous film director Guido Contini struggles to find harmony in his professional and personal lives, as he engages in dramatic relationships with his wife, his mistress, his muse, his agent, and his mother.
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As the American Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.
Arrogant, self-centered movie director Guido Contini finds himself struggling to find meaning, purpose, and a script for his latest film endeavor. With only a week left before shooting begins, he desperately searches for answers and inspiration from his wife, his mistress, his muse, and his mother. As his chaotic profession steadily destroys his personal life, Guido must find a balance between creating art and succumbing to its obsessive demands.Written by
The Massie Twins
In one of the most anticipated films of the Oscar season, Rob Marshall directs the adaptation of the Broadway musical, Nine. The film stars a studded-cast of A-list celebrities including Academy Award Winners Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Sophia Loren, Oscar Nominee Kate Hudson, and Stacy Ferguson a.k.a. Fergie. What the film is proud of is ultimately its failure.
Marshall, Oscar nominated for his breakthrough directorial debut Chicago, lost all the flavor and originality we once respected him for. The performances of most are right on target; get the job done, and sure to break through some awards buzz this season. The narrative by Michael Tolkin and the late Anthony Minghella is flat, unemotional, and vacant. The songs are tedious and a bit monotonous in their delivery, despite the cast surprisingly having good vocal chops. You would think that a big time musical such as Nine would have big notes that engage the viewer, and an interpretation that would move the viewer. None of those occur often enough in the film. Nine is not a failure, it just suffers major malfunctions that don't keep the machine moving.
Daniel Day-Lewis helms the picture as Guido Contini, an Italian director looking for inspiration for his next film. Day-Lewis gives a solid effort which we haven't seen from him before but in comparison to his previous works in There Will Be Blood and Gangs of New York, he doesn't elevate the material as often or doesn't translate his musical numbers like he should. When he's not singing, Day-Lewis is in charge, in top form, and showing what he's always excelled at, decode a character's feelings and become an inferno of talent.
Marion Cotillard is easily the most sentimental and profound player in the entire picture playing the heartrending Luisa, Guido's adulterated wife. What Cotillard has demonstrated beyond any type of acting capacity, a sexy, stylish, and devastating performance. With her two musical numbers, "Take It All" and "My Husband Makes Movies," Cotillard improves and exalts one of the most poignant performances of the year. This is the single performance of the film that Oscar shouldn't miss out on.
Nicole Kidman, Oscar winning actress for The Hours, is as wasted as she is unimportant playing the beautiful Claudia, Guido's muse for his film. Kidman's one big scene of the film becomes a borefest of words that have no verbal value to the viewer or the story. Unfortunately Kidman is the forgettable cast mate that is ultimately invisible. She's unused, underwritten, and employed as movie wallpaper. For shame.
Judi Dench as the costume designer Lilli has one big musical number which again is uninspired and lackluster. She has charisma in her speaking scenes and sort of upstages Day-Lewis much of the time, she eventually falls victim to a bland, insipid account.
Sophia Loren, the beautiful veteran Italian actress plays Mamma as in Guido's Mom, and gives a presence of royalty that the film lacks. She walks through the film with a manifestation of poise and allure.
Kate Hudson, as the cute Stephanie, the fashion critic for Vogue Magazine, is surprisingly fresh and fun. Her "Cinema Italiano" is one of the more pleasurable and enjoyable numbers in the film. It's nice to see Hudson give a bright, inventive cinematic turn in lines with her Oscar nominated work in Almost Famous.
Fergie is one of the sexier parts of the film as Saraghina, the lust of Guido's adolescence. Her "Be Italian" in terms of vocal capability is the best of the movie experience. Big notes, modern-like, and innovativeness, Fergie is one of the memorable players here but in terms of actual "acting," she's never given the chance to show what she can do.
Penelope Cruz, in one of her most aggressive and provocative turns yet plays the luscious Carla, Guido's married mistress. Cruz, in the film's opening number, is eager and provides hope to what seemed was going to be a promising experience. Along with Cotillard, Cruz is an Oscar worthy player. Fascinating, passionate, and enthusiastic along encompasses the traits in Ms. Cruz's arsenal.
Technically, the film sits very well. A stunning art director controlling the date and time of Marshall's film is quite good. Dion Beebe regulates our essential point of view and how dazzling it can look despite any flaws narratively. At it again, Colleen Atwood shows how she's one of the top designers in the business. Marshall in the end copycats himself, which is not a directorial style rather a Chicago-repeat without the razzle-dazzle.
Consequently, Rob Marshall's Nine isn't terrible, which doesn't say much. It's passable, average, and done before. It may not have been the screen writers liability for the strikeout, it's just an un-fascinating and awkwardly weak show. Nine, the film, however, is awkwardly coy, which is not an imaginative sense that the viewer anticipated. Nine in the end, in the finale, walking out of the theater, everything you thought about it, levels out just fine, which I guess is admirable. Is it Oscar bound? Unfortunately yes.
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