Nine Days: Review. By Liam Trump.
Looking into what we are before we’re born, Nine Days shows life before life. Souls have to make their way through tedious interviews in order to be given the gift of life. Most movies show consciousness after death, but Nine Days goes a different route. This keeps it from falling into many of the same clichés that movies covering similar subject matter often do.
This very original story follows Will (Winston Duke) as he must deal with the death of the only soul that still remembers him, Amanda. He’s the only character who’s actually been alive and this differentiates him from the rest of the characters; he’s seen struggles of life first hand. Together, both Will and Kyo (Benedict Wong) must conduct several interviews across nine days in order to find a suitable replacement for Amanda.
The opening immediately shows the intimate bond that exists between Will and Amanda. It’s framed in a similar fashion to a documentary; with it emulating found-footage. This scene is vital in setting up the unique bond that Will and Amanda have.
Interviewees are then brought in to replace Amanda. They’re given multiple what-if questions that reveal traits about their personalities, showing Will and Kyo what type of people they’ll be if they’re given the opportunity of life. All but one of the interviewees show up on time. The last one to show up is Emma. She’s quite different than the rest of them which brings out parts of Will’s past that he has pushed down in this emotionally stunted world in which he resides.
The world in which Nine Days is set in is brilliantly written. This is a world where its inhabitants live vicariously through other people. They seemingly do nothing but what and report on what the people in the real world are doing. Subtlety is given to many aspects of this world. Nothing is overly explained except for the interview process. This is a smart move since focusing on the interview process makes it so the character writing can shine through the already impressive worldbuilding.
Edson Oda’s screenplay tackles many complex themes in a way that’s accessible to any type of audience. It’s clear to see why it won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. This is by far one of the most beautiful films of 2020.
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