is a vibrant and provocative musical that follows the life
of world famous film director Guido Contini as he reaches
a creative and personal crisis of epic proportion while balancing
the numerous women in his life including hid=s wife, his mistress,
his film muse, his confidant and costume designer, an American
fashion journalist, the whore from his youth and his mother.
The film is directed by Rob Marshall. The original 1982 Broadway
production of "NINE" with music and lyrics by Maury
Yeston won five Tony Awards including Best Musical.
This reviewer has not seen Federico Fellini's "8Ĺ" but perhaps that is for the better. Critics who have seen the classic appear to be unanimous in their criticism of Rob Marshall's big-screen adaptation of the Broadway hit based on that film. But hey, you know what, this reviewer is more than willing to admit that he enjoyed "Nine" tremendously- so there, perhaps, ignorance really is bliss.
Apparently a semi-autobiography of Fellini's own life, his doppelganger is the Italian director Guido Cortini, who spends the entire film trying to figure out what his next film should be. Cortini's had a number of sizeable hits at the start, though in recent times his last two films were a flop- and he's announced that his next film will be titled "Italia". Does he have a script? Does he have a story to tell? Apparently not.
Artists- painters, writers, directors- should all be able to identify with Cortini's struggle. How many times has inspiration escaped us when we most needed it or wanted it? Where do we search for it? Does it come automatically or do we have to do something to earn it? And isn't it true that quite often the best forms of our inspiration come from our own lives and the people we meet? Indeed, Cortini's desperation for inspiration shouldn't be all too difficult for one to relate to, nor too his source.
Therein lies his Catch-22 situation. Cortini's muses have always been the women he has cast in his film- including his wife Luisa (Marion Cotillard), his mistress Carla (Penelope Cruz), and international superstar Claudia (Nicole Kidman)- but because his dalliances have been as much onscreen as they are off-screen, his life has become a mess. Add to that his troubled childhood in a strict Catholic upbringing, his late but ever-present mother (Sophia Loren), and you can see why he can't clear his mind enough to make his next movie.
Is the movie business really that complicated with matters of the heart? Quite possibly- just look at the frequency celebrities break up, get together and repeat, and you'll know that "Nine" isnít at all far-fetched in its portrayal of fame and romance. Marshall has chosen to give each of Cortini's women a voice, a voice with which to sing and cry out their inner feelings, and these musical interludes brim with much verve, passion and emotion.
Luisa's musical number "My Husband Makes Movies" heartbreakingly captures her long-suffering pain of watching in silence as her husband Cortini flatters other women with the same praise and adoration she thought was exclusive to her. Claudia's "Unusual Way" eloquently describes the unusual bond between the actress and her director that is almost as ephemeral as the flickering images onscreen. And then there's the flashier numbers- Kate Hudson's American journalist Stephanie's "Cinema Italiano" and Carla's "A Call From the Vatican"- that are reminiscent of the glitz and glamour of show business.
Because of the sheer number of actresses, each of their time onscreen are no more than supporting appearances to Daniel Day-Lewis' eccentric and mesmerizing main show. Not to say however that these stars of our time are in any way less enthralling- you'll enjoy each one of their brief but equally memorable performances. But the biggest praise should go to Daniel Day-Lewis, who once again displays how effortless and consummate an actor he is, disappearing with ease into a role complete with his own singing and dancing.
Forget about the negative buzz that you may have heard- Rob Marshall "Nine" is a vibrant and exuberant musical delight that will leave you enraptured in its charm for its entire 118-min runtime. My best advice to you is to forget any comparisons with Fellini's classic and to appreciate this glitzy extravaganza in its own right- sexy, stylish and ever-always dazzling.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
The Dolby Digital 2.0 is somewhat of a disappointment, considering how many of the filmís musical numbers would clearly have presented a wonderful opportunity to deliver some surround sound experience. The discís visual transfer could do with more sharpening and the images especially in dim light are less crisp than one would expect even from a normal DVD.
by Gabriel Chong
Posted on 30 May 2010