Monday, March 01, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: Nine


Number of Nominations: 4 (Best Supporting Actress - Penélope Cruz, Best Original Song - "Take it All," Achievement in Art Direction, Achievement in Costume Design)
Availability in the US: In Select Theatres (Check Showtimes)

Nine tells the story of famous Italian film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he plans his next film while trying to balance his professional and personal life. He is unfaithful to his wife (Marion Cotillard) with the emotionally-unbalanced Carla (Penelope Cruz) and attempts to juggle both women and a creative staff for his film, all while trying to keep anyone from realizing he's yet to write a single page of the script.

Nine is overall a disappointing film adaptation of a musical which is mediocre to begin with. The cast aren't really to blame for a poor execution on the part of the director, Rob Marshall (best known for directing 2002's Best Picture winner Chicago). The film uses similar devices as Chicago to place all the singing squarely in the realm of fantasy, an increasing (and, I believe disappointing) trend in film musicals. The art direction is very well done and may be the best thing about this film. During the lavish musical sequences, the varying tones of the scenes are beautifully photographed. The nominated costumes are nothing special, and the nominated song, "Take It All," isn't even the best song written for the movie (that would be Golden Globe nominee "Cinema Italiano").

Penelope Cruz gives a great performance as Guido's mistress, but as the incumbent Best Supporting Actress (for last year's Vicky Cristina Barcelona) her chances are slim; back-to-back wins are rare—the last actor to do it was Tom Hanks in 1993-1994—and no one has ever won Best Supporting Actress two years in a row. Also working against her, Cruz's Carla just isn't that different from the role she won for last year; Academy voters likely won't see the need to give her another award.

Grade: C+

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