9

"Very Good"

9 Review


Inventively animated with a striking attention to detail, this offbeat thriller might have trouble finding an audience, as the sweet and scary elements sit rather awkwardly alongside each other. But it's still ambitious and engaging.

Number 9 (Wood) is a brave little creature who wakes up into a decimated city where meets the inventive 2 (Landau), who's promptly captured by a scary monster. Soon 9 finds a community led by conservative leader 1 (Plummer) with his muscly/dim bodyguard 8 (Tatasciore) and obsessive sketch artist 6 (Glover).

It's the friendly 5 (Reilly) who accompanies 9 to rescue 2, and along the way they meet swashbuckling 7 (Connolly) and bookish twins 3 and 4. Together they need to figure out how to stop a voracious soul-sucking machine.

The film kicks off darkly and stays there, with the post-apocalyptic cityscape and terrifying mechanical beasts. As it progresses, it fills in the backstory about what happened to humanity, which lets the filmmakers echo everything from War of the Worlds to The Matrix by way of The Twilight Zone, The Terminator and Edward Scissorhands. But all of this subtly serves a story about a ragtag group of handmade creatures trying to discover their true purpose.

Yes, there's a strong religious undercurrent, with story elements about the afterlife and the sins of the past, as well as a small sliver of hope for the future. And along the way, director Acker keeps us gripped with his visual creativity. So it's a bit strange that there's so little emotional resonance in the characters, despite some sentimentality later on. It could have something to do with the somewhat bland dialog and voice work, but the real problem seems to be one of compromise on the overall tone.

We can definitely sense that the filmmakers wanted to go for something grim and freaky, and some sequences jolt us with sharply flashing blades, fiery explosions and grisly attacks. But the central nine characters are cuddly and wide-eyed in a way that undermines the suspense. They look more like huggable toys than movie characters, and teens won't have patience for something this cute. Meanwhile, it's is far too creepy and violent for young children. Which is a shame because there's some terrific material in here, and real skill up on the screen.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Animation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Shane Acker

Producer: , , Dana Ginsburg, Jinko Gotoh,

Starring: Puppa Armbruster as Lilo, Sandra Atia as Susi, Ulrich Beiger as Hubert, Lilos Vater, Astrid Boner as Susis Mutter, Siggi Buchner as Mann auf Party, Kurt Bülau as Herr Klassmann, Marianne Dupont as Claudia, Flori Endlicher as Henschel, Jürgen Feindt as Otto, Katjas Vater, Walter Feuchtenberg as Polizeimeister Eckart, Angelika Hefner as Mädchen auf Feier, Gina Janssen as Petra Klassmann, Uschi Karnat as Elke Parsberg, Carina Kreisch as Schülerin, Ruth Küllenberg as Frau Klassmann, Heiner Lauterbach as Paul Bellmann, Rosl Mayr as Wirtin, Claus Obalski as Trauzeuge, Ursula Reit as Lilos Mutter, Ursula Maria Schaefer as Freundin von Lilo, Werner Singh as Mick, Uli Steigberg as 2. Polizist, Christine Szenetra as Katja, Claus Tinney as Wolfgang Ströhmeyer, Dagobert Walter as Horst, Elisabeth Welz as Selma, Katjas Mutter

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.