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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Movie Review - The 9th Life of Louis Drax

The 9th Life of Louis Drax (2016)
Starring Jamie Dornan, Sarah Gadon, Aiden Longworth, Oliver Platt, Molly Parker, Barbara Hershey, and Aaron Paul
Directed by Alexandre Aja

An oddly captivating huge mess is how I'd describe The 9th Life of Louis Drax, a film that clearly doesn't know what it's trying to be in terms of tone and who it's trying to appeal to in terms of story.  When the film opens, nine year-old Louis Drax (Aiden Longworth) is detailing the eight times he's almost died in his short life -- electrocution, food poisoning, you name it and it's nearly caused Louis to bite the dust.  On his ninth birthday, Louis is taken by his mother Natalie (Sarah Gadon) and his father Peter (Aaron Paul) to a cliffside park where the young boy falls off the edge of a high cliff.  When he's recovered, Louis is in a coma and while at the hospital, Dr. Allan Pascal (Jamie Dornan) tries to do what he can to bring the young boy back to consciousness while also unraveling a mystery surrounding just how Louis fell off the cliff.  Did Peter push his son off the cliff as Natalie claims or is Natalie not as innocent as she seems?

That summary fails to include the sea creature that Louis communicates with while in his coma, the psychologist (Oliver Platt) whom Louis sees to try and make him "less weird" as he calls himself, the female cop (Molly Parker) investigating the possible crime who we know is tough because she's chewing gum in the morgue while her male partner tries to hold back from vomiting, the sex scene between Dr. Pascal and Natalie -- all of which add to an incongruous mashup of a movie that at any point feels like a live-action kids film from the 1980s, a poorly constructed murder mystery, or a horror-fantasy flick in the vein of Pan's Labyrinth.

Yet, somehow, I didn't stop watching.  Perhaps I kept hoping that Jamie Dornan and Sarah Gadon's acting would get better.  Perhaps I hoped that the sea monster would be real.  Perhaps I hoped that I wouldn't have guessed the mystery of how Louis fell off the cliff from the get-go.  None of those "perhaps's" became true, however, and instead The 9th Life of Louis Drax is a mess.  There is some interesting direction to be sure, but beyond that there's nothing else worth wasting your time with here.

The RyMickey Rating:  D

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