NINE DAYS (2021)
A film that forces introspection and pondering of life itself, Nine Days is a stunning debut from director Edson Oba and supported by a stellar performance form Winston Duke.
A man (Duke) is tasked with interviewing a number of unborn souls to determine which of them shall be granted life on Earth. Nine Days’ premise immediately evokes comparisons to Soul, though the former is a more mature, in-depth pondering of all aspects of life. Duke is convincingly intense and powerful in his role, supported by an all-around solid cast that includes Zazie Beetz, Bill Skarsgård, Benedict Wong, Tony Hale, and more. Through each interview, Duke’s character tests the character of those before him, each offering something different. How would they handle specific situations? What have they observed of note on the various screens depicting life through the eyes of those who have come before them? All answers lead to the ultimate determination.
Oba’s direction, from the subtle movements of the characters to the cinematography choices that allow us to get a sense of the setting, is impressive on all fronts. Coupled with Duke as the film’s anchor, whose character is not immune from a journey of his own, Oba never once loses the viewer’s interest while engaging them in a deep, reflective story. If you are one to look for a film to tie everything in a bow for you at the end, this is not your film; the ending may be satisfying for some, but not for all (and certainly not for me).
Nine Days is one of those films that sticks with you, that you will be thinking about long after the credits role. Check it out in select theaters now or when it expands this Friday.
Photo from Variety