Sunday, 20 September 2020
Wednesday, 06 January 2010 21:00
Nine PosterIf Chicago made you want to run home and dance around the house in lingerie, or made you want to watch someone dance around in lingerie - or indeed made you want to borrow your wife’s lingerie - you just might enjoy Nine. Director Rob Marshall brings another musical to the big screen but this one feels more like a showcase for Barker’s beauties than a cohesive story.

Nine the musical is based on “8 ½”, the film by famed Italian director Federico Fellini, which in turn was loosely based on his own life. Confused yet? We are introduced to Guido Contini (Daniel Day Lewis), a charismatic director who has exposed the world to “cinema Italiano” through his famous films. The problem is his last few have been duds and now he’s against a wall trying to come up with the next masterpiece. Guido’s got writer’s block, and he’s not helping himself any by running away and chasing tail all over Italy.

Daniel Day-Lewis and Judi DenchEnter a bevy of beautiful, powerful and creative women to whip Guido into shape, or at least into a frenzy. Marion Cotillard plays his wife Louisa, whom he relies on far more than he realizes. If you haven’t seen her in La Vie En Rose, do yourself a favor and watch the French film. Penelope Cruz is over-the-top and playful as Guido’s mistress Carla. Kate Hudson dazzles as an American reporter for Vogue who wants to bag herself an Italian stallion before heading back to the US to brag. She proves that she isn’t just a rom-com commodity.

Nicole Kidman is Claudia, his muse and leading lady who is tired of only being seen for her beauty. Even the incomparable Italian classic Sophia Loren makes an appearance as Guido’s Mamma, whom he still looks to for advice even after her death. Daniel Day Lewis is wonderful as Guido but when the music starts playing I found him a bit of a flat fish. Not bad, since he never is, but not riveting either.

The women of NineOne of the biggest surprises in this film comes from singer Fergie! She is unrecognizable as the wild gypsy prostitute Saraghina, another ghost from Guido’s past and she is spectacular! She sings the showstopper number “Be Italian” with incredible force and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. The other big surprise was Judy Dench, the wise costume designer who knows Guido better than he knows himself. It’s really incredible that she can star alongside all these beautiful younger women and really knock out the audience. She does a fabulous job in her musical number as well.

Nine is not a film for everyone, although it seems to have every big name in Hollywood starring in it. It will suffer with most audiences because it is more like a variety show than a movie, but I think that is what I liked about it. Like the women in it, each performance is different and each has its own strength. It’s a thought provoking piece of work and it isn’t really fair to compare it to Moulin Rouge or Chicago since it is a completely different style of film.