MOVIE REVIEW: “The 9th Life of Louis Drax” stars Aidan Longworth (Cut Bank, Hector and the Search for Happiness), Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold, Enemy), Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey, The Fall [TV series]), Molly Parker (The Road, Deadwood [TV series]), Anjali Jay (The Age of Adaline, Power Rangers ), and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad [TV series], Need for Speed ). It is directed by Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes , Mirrors), with the screenplay being written by Max Minghella (Teen Spirit). Louis Drax (Longworth) has been a lucky boy his whole life, surviving countless injuries that would prove to be near fatal. However, on his ninth birthday, he is pushed off a cliff by his father and ends up in a coma. Things look grim for Louis, though his doctor thinks otherwise. Becoming entangled in the Drax family, Dr. Allan Pascal (Dornan) seeks the truth of what happened on the cliff side that led Louis to this.
“The 9th Life of Louis Drax” is a peculiar film to review; in fact, it’s quite difficult to assess the feature. While the story itself doesn’t boast much when broken down to its basic parts, the style and tone is a unique one. So unique that I had trouble figuring out what I thought of it. Was it good or was it bad? There are plenty of reasons to give both sides the time of day, though when it comes down to it, I’d have to say that I was disappointed. The trailers for this flick boasted a tale that was both alluring and intriguing. Although I didn’t know them all by name, I recognized some of the stars as well, and was willing to give it a shot based on a unique idea. However, the style and the tone were the only things that were genuine in this story of non-relatable characters and predictable circumstances. What one will figure while watching this plot unfold is just how weird it is. Though it isn’t far-fetched, the actions and dialogue amongst some of these characters is bizarre, primarily due to the directing. It’s your run of the mill story of a kid in a broken home coming to a halt in life when he ends up in a coma, but the packaging of it all is different. We see the story through the eyes of both the main kid and the doctor, two characters I didn’t care for. The kid, Louis, was severely annoying and rude to anyone crossing his way except for his parents. His analysis of life is interesting, though I couldn’t really stand the actor or his performance besides a few moments throughout the story. I’m sure it was all in the dialogue, as the kid was written to be this way, but it wasn’t a way I found to be tasteful. When it came to the doctor, he’s pinned to be the hero yet he falls into temptation and silly inquiries. They wanted me to care for him, possibly by means of pity, but all I could do is sigh and wait for the next scene to appear. Jamie Dornan did an alright job in the role, as did the rest of the cast in theirs, but I wish that they were developed a little further; maybe even on a level that I appreciated. It was nice to see Aaron Paul (who acted like the dad form of Jesse Pinkman), but his role was rather small and scattered. The story itself is like a puzzle that the writers want you to solve. By doing so, we are subjected to flashbacks, narrations, and some CGI to fully engulf us in a mysterious, dream-like atmosphere. The cinematography was bright, only in contrast to a few scenes involving shadows and dull colors. It was something different, but made the story feel more synthetic than real. The end game that this tries to reach takes its time because it knows it’s a big twist. I will admit that it is a big twist, but one that is predicted halfway through the course of the film. It’s hard not to see it coming because the writers don’t give us much reason to think otherwise. If it were to go the route they were playfully forcing upon us, the script wouldn’t be as nearly “flavorful” as it was letting on to be. What transpired in the events leading up to this revelation and subsequently afterward is a toss-up. I was engaged during most of it, but there were inconsistencies throughout the plot. Certain moments will come off silly as others will be too dark. The story has trouble finding its middle-ground to establish a consistent style, leaving us with a jumbled affair. However, this style is unique, as I have stated before. In its jumbledness, I found trouble trying to figure out what I thought of it. Were these silly scenes intentional? Was the plot twist supposed to be predicted? It’s so caught up in its own world that I have trouble placing it on a scale. What it boils down to is whether or not I left with a good impression of the story. While it has its inconsistencies, there are redemptive moments found in characters and direction. The ending scene between Louis and his dad was nice, but what came before it was iffy. If you are looking for something different, I guess I’d point you to this, but it’s hard to say because I’m sure that most people won’t like it (judging by the ratings it has gotten). As for me, I’m going to go with my gut on rating it. FINAL SCORE: 68%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: