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Nine Days

By Alan Ng | July 30, 2021

Then the candidates study tapes of those who’ve gone before them and reflect on what they did right and wrong. Some are placed in simulations of everyday activities, like riding a bike or going to the beach. The candidates are all pretty typical from Will’s perspective, except for Emma. She questions why Will is so tough on everyone and whether his questions give him the right information to make the best decision. Also, what exactly happened to Will when he was born?

There are several things to love about Edson Oda’s first-time feature. First, this world he created out of a house in the desert. The production design is impressive of a high-tech, omniscient “library” using available low-tech tools like its stacks of VHS players. Then add these heady, existential ideas of the job interview, training, and proving oneself worthy of living, which all work together in establishing that the rules for moving on to the real world are simple and complex.

I’ll just say it all crescendos to a magnificent and beautiful moment in Will’s life that must be experienced for yourself. If you like your science-fiction thoughtful, not based on a franchise, and with a philosophical message to give about humanity, you need to see Nine Days. Let me also add, I’d love to discuss with anyone, not just about how good the film is, but some of the ideas behind it, e.g., what’s the point at all for a qualifying soul in the first place? Discuss!

“Winston Duke is incredible and owns his character, Will.”

The brilliant story by Oda alone is good enough to make with any actor, but Winston Duke is incredible and owns his character, Will. He has the biggest, if not the only arc in the film, and he knows exactly where his character is going, which shows mastery in his performance. Zazie Beetz is equally impressive as the catalyst to Will’s arc and plays off him perfectly. We also have a supporting cast of well-defined and varied characters—which is no easy task—and all with the same goals and non-existent backstories. For fans of Tony Hale, you’re going to love him—trust me.

I can’t say much about the ending, but if you’re desperate for hope in these desperate times, and you want to unplug for two hours and feel inspired—find a new perspective—get a hold of Nine Days.

Nine Days screened at the 2020 AFI Fest.

Nine Days (2020)

Directed and Written: Edson Oda

Starring: Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Benedict Wong, Tony Hale, Bill Skarsgård, David Rysdahl, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

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"…answering intense roleplay exercises of 'what would you do' when presented with life and death scenarios."

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