Lost in the Reel’s video review + interviews with the cast & director of Nine Days.

Going into Nine Days, I knew next to nothing about it… and I am going to do my very best to allow you to go into it, the very same way. All I had pieced together so far was that it starred a stellar cast and people had been comparing it to Pixar’s Soul.  What I wasn’t prepared for, was to experience one of the most beautiful, thoughtful and original pieces of filmmaking that I have seen in years.  


The movie follows Will, a man who lives isolated in a humble home in the desert where he spends his days watching over television screens that happen to show different people’s lives playing out before his eyes.  A horrible occurrence happens to one of the humans that he watches over, and so leaves a vacancy on one of his screens.  He begins an interviewing process of multiple souls, who have nine days to prove to him that they deserve a spot on that television, and a chance to live in the human world.


This is writer/director Edson Oda’s feature directorial debut, and you could forgive me for being completely shocked by this fact. This is extremely experimental and risky filmmaking that could have gone wrong in so many ways.  But, the young director adapts his script to the screen in a way that is so assured, you would think Oda was a veteran in the field.  Nothing about this screenplay would have been easy to translate to the screen.  The plot is so out-there, the messages and themes are at once, simple, yet profound and the ambition is wildly grand.  And although the movie is a bit of a slow burn… once you surrender yourself to it and let it all wash over you, it is a fully-realized and immersive experience.


The cast that Oda has assembled here is simply magnificent.  Winston Duke, who shined in Jordan Peele’s Us and Black Panther, plays completely against type here, as our lead protagonist Will.  Duke commands the screen in every scene he is in, with a restrained and contemplative performance, although boiling inside is grief, anger and regret.  This role could have possibly been played by anyone, of any race or gender, but after seeing this film, Duke inhabits the role so fully that I couldn’t see any other performer pulling this off.

Benedict Wong, also a mainstay of the MCU as Wong in Doctor Strange, is almost the antithesis to Duke’s Will.  He brings a sense of balance to the film, with his much needed comedic-relief and sense of romanticism and heart.  And with the rest of the cast who make up the interviewees; each one of them inhabit this shell of childlike wonder, but they grow upon that with their own perspectives, energy and unique qualities that make them all special.  I must point out Arianna Ortiz as Maria though. Who although has a much smaller role to play here… has some of the most devastating and sincere moments in the film. Including a scene that is quite possibly one of the most breathtaking sequences I have ever witnessed in cinema.


There will be some jaded people who have closed-off or cynical hearts, who will probably brush Nine Days off as some sappy existential mumbo-jumbo.  And that’s okay.  We all derive meaning from things differently, based upon our own personal experiences… and that is what makes each and every one of us special.  And with this film, and only if you allow it; you will leave with a different perspective and outlook on life.  Nine Days is not here to necessarily give you enjoyment, it has arrived to open up your eyes to see the world in a different way.  To help you grapple with and try to peel back the layers of the human condition.  To reaffirm that every experience and moment that you have means something, as do all of the moments of every human being around you, as well.  

As the final scenes of Nine Days came to a close… I found myself at once overwhelmed, but also full of joy.  I proceeded to watch it twice more and still had a hard time putting into words what this cinematic achievement meant to me.  And I’ll just leave it with this… it’s now time for you to experience it for yourself.  

Nine Days will be in select theaters in NY & LA July 30th, 2021. It will be screening nationwide August 6th, 2021.

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