What would you do if you awoke one day and were given the opportunity to be completely reborn? A chance to start from scratch without a past and embark upon a new adventure. Winston Duke has proven with every cinematic step that his talent is boundless. In his latest role as Will, a recluse obsessed with interviewing and monitoring the activities of a few dozen humans via a wall of vintage TVs. Each person live-streamed on these monitors are inhabited by a soul Will has singled out years earlier. When one dies, it’s his job to choose the next soul to be born.
Written and directed by Edson Oda in his directorial debut, Nine Days will make you contemplate your existence in this world and how you view it. Sprinkling characters throughout that try to break Will’s cynical outlook are a most interestingly complex cast of characters – each with their own idiosyncrasies.From the romantic Maria (Arianna Ortiz), practical Kane (Bill Skarsgård), the epicurean (Tony Hale) and Mike (David Rysdahl), who sees himself as a victim . But, the one who seems to penetrate and break through all that cynicism is Emma (Zazie Beetz), as she is the one soul who has never stepped out onto the earth.
The final scene between Beetz and Duke, where he spouts very Shakesperean dialogue is the stuff stars are made of and is a sight to behold. Beetz as Emma has that pixie-ish type of feminine wiles that makes her beguiling, captivating and equally bright in her performance.
Dan Hermansen’s Production Design is simple, yet effective resembling the vast land of salt one would capture while driving cross country through the state of Utah and passing through Salt Lake. For me, it resembles a clean slate ready to be tainted or redesigned. Nine Days in an oddly, captivating sci-fi drama that questions where souls come from, where do they go and how do they stay grounded.
Produced by Sony Pictures Classics and most recently screened as part of the AFI Film Fest, stay tuned for a more definitive release date.