The Nines (DVD)

Who says there’s no such thing as a decent movie based on a videogame? The Nines is not just decent — it's superb, and although it may not be based on one specific game, it owes a lot to the online role-playing sub-genre that is hugely popular at the moment. The film itself is not confined to one genre, however. As it unfolds, telling three subtly-linked stories, it manages to remain profound without ever being pretentious.

TV actor Gary has recently split with his girlfriend. High and aimlessly driving around the suburbs he crashes his car and is placed under house arrest under the watchful gaze of his publicist, Margaret. Gary begins an impromptu relationship with amorous neighbour Sarah, while noticing that the number nine is constantly appearing everywhere he goes. Suddenly we return to the house, only to find it inhabited by Gavin, a successful writer and producer. Gavin is trying to sell his latest script, which is set to star his best friend Melissa and as a reality TV crew follows him to New York we meet TV executive Susan who initially wants to get his programme on air, but also has a hidden agenda. Finally we get to see the show that Gavin is producing and the lead actor, Gabriel, finds himself stuck on a deserted road with his wife Mary and mute daughter. As he goes off to find help he meets hitchhiker Sierra and that’s when things get really weird...

The same three actors play all the main characters; Gary/Gavin/Gabriel is brought to life by the excellent Reynolds. Continuing on from the fantastic Smokin’ Aces, Reynolds is again on fine form, ably assisted by McCarthy (Margaret/Melissa/Mary) and Davis (Sarah/Susan/Sierra). The film asks all the big questions, and then lets you answer them. A film like this could have been frustrating, by never giving too much away films like this tend to leave you exasperated rather than satisfied. However, The Nines knows exactly what its all about and you simply have to work you way through it. There are more than enough clues to get there, but it’s an entertaining and engaging ride along the way: let’s reconvene once we’ve all seen it and discuss.

EXTRAS ***½ Interviews with writer/director John August and costar Melissa McCarthy; 9 deleted scenes (with an optional commentary) including an alternative ending; a making-of featurette called Summung Up The Nines; a featurette called Script To Screen, with storyboard comparisons and a scrolling script beside the finished scenes; a photo gallery; the theatrical trailer. But capping it all off is August's short film, God, also starring McCarthy as a woman who chats to God every day. On the phone ...

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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