movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I like movies, music and everything esle... ; ) oh... and i can't spell, so, please, no comments

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

nine lives

Rodrigo Garcia has become one of HBO’s golden boys over the last several years. His directing credits include THE SOPRANOS, SIX FEET UNDER, CARNIVALE, and their upcoming BIG LOVE. Through these shows, he has showed great skill and I was really curious to see what he would come up with when (not if) he made the leap to feature films. That leap is NINE LIVES…

Garcia not only directed NINE LIVES, he wrote it too. It is his writing that shines above even his directing in this film. NINE LIVES tells the story of life. I know that is a broad explanation, but it really does capture this film. It is nine separate stories that sometimes interconnect, painting life in today’s world from multiple perspectives. All of the stories feel real. They all have a point and they all posses a magnetic drama that keeps you interested and entertained. This is what we live, but watching it, we are fascinated to see others go through it. It is the naturalism that is the greatest accomplishment in the screenplay. Realism is extremely difficult to portray in a fictional tale and NINE LIVES does it beautifully.

The cast of this film is the first thing that you will notice. There are twenty names above the title that include Kathy Baker, Amy Brenneman, Glen Close, Dakota Fanning, Holly Hunter, Joe Mantegna, Ian McShane, Robin Wright Penn, and Sissy Spacek. There is no ‘lead’ in this film. As pretentious as it may sound, people are the lead of this film. These actors are the leads in their respective stories. Sometimes they connect, but this is not a movie about that. It is a movie about the things that we go through in life.

The story that I will focus on is the one involving Diana (Robin Wright Penn) and Damien (Jason Isaacs), who run into each other after ten years of being apart. It is obvious by their interaction that they had an intense relationship and thought they belonged together. They were “Diana and Damien” and they always will be. Since it has been ten years, they have each moved on with their lives, but it is obvious that this is a painful reunion. I simply loved this story. It is raw. It is real. It is masterfully acted.

Garcia delivers a bold stylistic choice with this film. There are nine stories here and each story is told with a single unbroken steadicam shot. Nine stories, nine shots. While this could easily play as a gimmick, the camera remains unobtrusive and impartial. The shots are extremely well choreographed and it never feels forced or loses the sense of realism that the script establishes. Garcia’s background is as a cinematographer (Gia, Four Rooms, My Crazy Life) and it shows here with a well executed visual approach. Never once did I feel like it drew attention to itself. If anything, it just makes the audience feel like a fly on the wall. It is more like watching real life than a movie.

NINE LIVES is a great little film that I would highly recommend. One caution: this is not a movie about answers and most of the stories are left without resolution that we as an audience are used to. I found this as another reason to embrace the film, not attack it. If a “slice of life” movie is not your type of film, this might not be a film for you.


Blogger Cutshaw said...

Great review, then I read the comments and was sorely disappointed (although Lord knows I could use tips on improving my French Kissing.)
You should change your settings and under "comments" say 'Yes' to 'Show Word Verification'. Then you can get rid of this unwanted SPAM.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rodrigo garcia has directed two previous movies both available on dvd: "ten tiny love stories" and "things you can tell by just looking at her".

11:32 AM  

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