SUNDANCE 2020 FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW. To be honest, it’s not too often that a movie with a highly original concept comes out. Many films that are released any given year follow a particular formula. Which is not to say that’s necessarily a bad thing. However, it is always refreshing when a movie is released, that is something we never would’ve expected. Edson Oda’s Nine Days is one of those films.
Will (Winston Duke) is a man in a dark house with many televisions stacked on top of one another. He is intently watching them all, as POV shots of everyday life play across each screen. He’s taking notes. It doesn’t take too long before we realize that the televisions Will is watching are showing people’s lives on Earth. He is not on Earth, but he once was. It’s never made clear if Will is in heaven or purgatory or any other place we might assume.
“…must complete a series of tests over the next nine days for the chance to become a human being.”
Out of all of the different lives that Will watches, he has a special attachment to Amanda, a violin prodigy. When she dies unexpectedly, Will is distraught, but now he has to fill the vacancy she left behind on one of his screens. To that end, Will starts receiving visitors. They are newborn souls who are vying for the opportunity to fill Amanda’s vacancy. Throughout this whole process, Will is accompanied by his friend Kyo (Benedict Wong), who has never lived on Earth.
Amongst the visitors, we have the sensitive artist Michael (David Rysdahl), comedian Alex (fittingly played by the hilarious Tony Hale), Maria (Arianna Ortiz), who is a romantic, and the rationale Kane (Bill Skarsgard). Lastly, we have the freest spirit of them all, Emma (Zazie Beetz). Each contestant must complete a series of tests over the next nine days for the chance to become a human being.