Posted on Friday, September 18, 2009 at 12:00 AM
What begins both beautiful and captivating ends in a manner more and more confusing the more thought and conversation is put into it. In reading other reviews of 9, I learned that the material comes from an Oscar nominated short in 2006 and after viewing that makes a great deal of sense. This digitally rendered world is one populated by only a few "living" entities. 9 of them are small sack cloth dolls and the other a red eyed evil machine. It is extremely well voice-acted by the likes of Christopher Plummer and Jennifer Connolly, however reviewers all tend to agree that the film is rather one-dimensional.
There is a mystery afoot, in amidst all of the chasing and fleeing from the creations of the red eyed "beast" that the 9 dolls are involved in. And while we find ourselves wondrously drawn into the mystery and the world that 9, the titular character played by Elijah Wood, explores it is nevertheless a flat and lifeless display. There is just too much running towards, or running away and far too often the dialogue consists of calls to action, or calls of alarm.
Much like the other reviews I've read, I too, want to like 9, but the movie doesn't offer enough. It professes to offer enough, and for 80 minutes the movie meanders a course that should lead to a satisfying and conclusive ending, but with so much left unsaid, and things stated that don’t seem to jive with what had transpired before the movies conclusion seems drawn from material we weren’t privy to.
But the end question is, should you go see 9. I believe the answer, ironically for me as I almost always support movies of one degree or another, is probably not. Those reviews that positively rate the movie still make the same negative comments – there just isn't enough there. And those movies that negatively rate the movie hold that lack of plot as the major contributing factor to their negative review.
A movie cannot be color and light without substance. And 9 is unfortunately most of the time without substance. And whatever it professes to enlighten the viewer with, at the end, does not fit with the model it's put forth. But then again, maybe the dolls got their instructions wrong in the end and that is why we are left with such a bewildering conclusion.
5 dolls out of 9.
Kyle Gould is a University of Calgary Graduate in English devoutly trying to make the 25,000 dollar piece of parchment not just a glorified ink blot. Currently it would serve better as a Rorschach test. Feel free to throw some ink his way at firstname.lastname@example.org.