Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Penelope
Cruz, Kate Hudson, Judi Dench, Marion Cotillard, Sophia Loren,
RunTime: 1 hr 58 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: PG (Sexual References)
Official Website: http://nine-movie.com/
Opening Day: 18 February 2010
of the Official NINE Motion Picture Soundtrack
is a vibrant and provocative musical that follows the life
of world famous film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis)
as he reaches a creative and personal crisis of epic proportion,
while balancing the numerous women in his life including his
wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penelope Cruz), his
film star muse (Nicole Kidman), his confidant and costume
designer (Judi Dench), an American fashion journalist (Kate
Hudson), the whore from his youth (Fergie) and his mother
(Sophia Loren). The film is directed by Rob Marshall (CHICAGO).
The original 1982 Broadway production of "NINE,"
with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, won five Tony Awards
including Best Musical.
It seemed like the perfect plan. Why else would you gather a whole lot of Oscar winners and nominees to star in a movie? So that the movie trailer can loudly proclaim “Starring Academy Award Winner…” whenever a close up shot of an actor appears? So that viewers would not think twice before forking out money to watch these actors come together for a movie extravaganza? So that consumers would feel good about paying the price of one ticket to see so many bona fide stars in one movie? Whatever it is, the plans seemed to have failed, because critics weren’t too kind to this Rob Marshall directed movie, bombarding it for its pompousness.
We didn’t go into the preview affected by those self important reviews. We wanted a great night out at the movies, and we didn’t step out of the theatre disappointed. What’s more, who’s not to like a movie musical with grand sets and wonderful songs?
Adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name which is a song and dance version of Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ (1963), this 118 minute production tells the story of an eccentric movie director Guido Contini, who recently is struggling to find sense, intention, and most importantly, a script for his latest film project. Time is running out, and he frantically finds meanings from the women who have made some impact in his life. Bring in the gorgeous women who are his wife, his mistress, his muse, his mother, his long time costume designer, an American reporter and a stranger from his childhood days. Oh yes, this is also when the songs are belted out one after another with great vigour.
Will our protagonist find the balance between pursuing his artistic vision and giving in to its compulsive demands? We don’t really care, because from the moment the movie begins, we are too busy indulging ourselves in the star power that is too glaring not to be noticed. We’ve got: Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Judi Dench (Shakespeare In Love), Marion Cotillard (La vie en rose), Sophia Loren (La ciociara) and Nicole Kidman (The Hours).
And that was only in the “Oscar winner” department. Rounding up the guilty pleasure are Oscar nominee Kate Hudson (Almost Famous) and Fergie from pop group Black Eyed Peas. Blinded by the star studded cast yet?
The first scene of the movie brings together the cast, and we see the women circle around the always perfect Day Lewis. Following that, we have each of them singing songs, if not emotionally engaging, are a sensory enjoyment. See Cruz perform some suggestive acrobatic stunts in “A Call From the Vatican”. See Fergie shake her booties and play with sand and tambourines in “Be Italian”. See Hudson let it all out in “Cinema Italiano”. We acknowledge that this is pure (s)exploitation, but it sure succeeded in buying us over to the glamourous worlds cinema can create.
There are also moments which we genuinely felt shaken up by the emotions by the characters. Cotillard’s “My Husband Makes Movies” and Kidman’s “Unusual Way” almost brought tears to our eyes. These two actresses didn’t have to shake (or show too much flesh) to engage us.
At the end of the movie, you may ask yourself: So what’s the issue the protagonist is facing? As media practitioners, we can only tell you: Don’t bother too much, because it’s an artist thing when have their queer days. Besides, with the breathtaking Italy landscapes and dazzling production values (from a team of Oscar winners and nominees, nonetheless), we’d advise that you give in to the guilty temptation, and just sit back to enjoy the ride.
(You’d be in for a great night out at the movies with this song and dance extravaganza)
Review by John Li