• Strictly Films

Nine Days (AFI Fest 2020); Edson Oda Feature Debut is Extremely Special. Grade: A-

Strictly Films welcomes to you to coverage of this years AFI Film Festival! Our next film on the block: Nine Days.

Nine Days takes place in the middle of nowhere featuring a house in which a man lives there by the name of Will (Winston Duke). Will spends his time watching lives of those whom he himself granted, for them to be alive. Will will conduct a process featuring many individuals, in which will be given a series of tests over the next nine days, as Will will decide who shall he grant for a chance to be alive.

The Cinematography t’was simple yet elegant. Best shots of this film consists of when the guests go through their final desired moment, in which Will grants them before they depart as they failed to apply to the requirements. Also loved the final shot of the film, felt very impactful as it did played a part in it’s very emotionally captivating finale.

The cast all in all t’was pretty damn good. I haven’t been all that impressed with Winston Duke as an actor, but as Will... This is honestly Winston Duke’s breakout performance, as he did a GREAT job. Only criticism I really have in his performance, was one scene in which providing frustration as it could’ve done better. But as one whom has passed on from life, as he’s grown numb towards feeling any emotions at all... Really impressive stuff out of Winston Duke here. Felt the character Will t’was great, as he will be a character in which many can relate, where you once felt so alive and happy, as you now come to be emotionless towards it all.

Zazie Beetz playing Emma played a pretty damn good performance, as one whom tends to ask such curious questions countering Will’s questions. Lovely character indeed, in which brings up the spirit for not only her but most importantly others as well. Beetz and Duke shared great chemistry on screen, as both characters compliment each other, as Emma did helped developed a character arc for Will. Bill Skarsgård playing Kane had a pretty good performance, as one who had a very competitive spirit in taking on this role in partaking in being alive. Also solid performances from all participants in this process, I felt everyone did a really good job. Benedict Wong playing Will’s friend Kyo played a solid performance as well, felt like a nice side kick character.

Only issue I really have with Nine Days, is the concept at hand. There is mention that these individuals are going to relive a life again, however majority of the film it feels as if these individuals has never experienced life themselves before at hand... So which is it? Maybe on a second watch it’ll be much clearer, as it’s more centered around getting a chance to live.

Nine Days compares to the likes of Endless Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Her. Where the film is offering a unique experience you’ve never witnessed before, as the film takes on heavy themes on life, as the film is heavy on emotions as well. It’s rare for a film to be compared to the likes of those two films... Which is why I believe Nine Days is an extraordinary film, in which will be discussed and be loved for years to come, as this is truly a very special film.

This is honestly the best screenplay of the entire year that I’ve watched: A story in which brings something completely new to the table, but feels very personal regarding how we view life, and we carry ourselves in which we live. Especially towards mainly our two participants Kane and Emma, as their view point on life is extremely different than the other, but often many people can relate. Emma tries to see the beauty in life, thinking only positive as she questions why bad things come to exist, while we should just treasure the fact we exist and have a chance to live. While Kane thinks what others feel as well, as only focusing on the harsh reality, as life offers misfortune. What makes Emma special is the way she wants to develop connections with each and everyone she meets, including Will whom happens to be very broken inside.

You can also say this kind of how a lone sperm surrounded by thousands is chosen for life. Sometimes the requirements of being selected amongst the others is by faith, as you were truly meant to be here as you met all the requirements to your existence. This film also makes us think differently on Suicide. Though Will may not be God, he does however serve as one whom works for God. As Will witnesses a past participant he’s selected commit suicide, his reaction is quite depressing. Will searches through past video tapes, as he’s trying to understand why this young woman, whom appears to have lived a nice life playing the violin would do such a thing?! In reality: No one will understand why one would commit suicide, no matter how hard you try to figure it out when one doesn’t appear to be troubled. In a way we appear to be just fine, but in reality we’re all troubled in some way, as it’s hard to justify why our minds tend to lean towards death than living. As this film clearly shows, no matter if life can appear as cruel in ways... It’s still beautiful, as we take it for granted. I want to talk about this film more, but feel it’s best for you to experience it yourself, as I don’t want to give much away... That’s how special this film is.

Overall, Nine Days is a fantastic film as it is my favorite film of the year thus far. I highly recommend checking this one out whenever it does get released, especially if your fans of films with great screenplays, that do elevate the mind, body, heart, and soul to heights you never thought was possible to reach. A striking impressive fantastic debut by Edson Oda, hopefully this is the beginning of a great career, as this one will certainly be remembered for years to come. -Mitch Smietana

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