Tuesday, January 19, 2010
TWC's "Nine" may be its biggest effort, but it's not too effective as a musical
Rob Marshall’s screen rendering of the Broadway musical “Nine” (most of the music by Maury Yeston) is lively enough, even if it is a little short on volume in music, and sometimes the singing is almost intrusive. Michael Tolkin and the late Anthony Minghella adapted the musical for The Weinstein Company, giving TWC one of its largest films since the breakoff from Miramax.
Daniel Day-Lewis plays Guido Contini, a perpetually adolescent filmmaker who plays off a mistress (Penelope Cruz) and a wife (Nicole Kidman). He is making a loosely conceived film called “Italia” but seems to have run out of gas. Directors or screenwriters ruin their films when they talk about them, he says. He calls himself a “businessman.” The film gives us black-and-white flashbacks as to how Contini’s debauchery developed. The musical numbers interlope on a 1965 sound stage in Rome (which looked better to me in “Three Coins in the Fountain” back in the 50s). The music score (amplified by Andrea Guerra), while lively with climaxes, trails off at the end to a pianissimo high note, like the end of Britten’s “Death in Venice” or the first movement of the Mahler Ninth.
Lewis is a real actor: here, he is hairy, and frazzled, like an Updike character. Remember how buff he looked in “The Last of the Mohicans” after epilation.
At the end (spoiler) he has no film, but comes back (with the help of Judi Dench) to film “Nine”, making the plot reflexive.
The official site for the film is here.
"Directing a movie is a very overrated job."