Movies

‘Nine’ review: Touching the stars, almost

With a starry cast, Nine is a refreshing watch.

With a starry cast, Nine is a refreshing watch.  

A hurried climax apart, Nine scores in most other departments

Nine has a canvas dripping reds and blacks — twilight seeping into the screen and setting various tones of grotesquerie, faces illuminated by the eerie glow of candles and frames exploring the texture of darkness. Its storyline stems from an intriguing premise, a cosmic phenomenon that leaves the earth without power and communication for a period spanning nine days. At the same time, Nine is not any desi sci-fi classic nor is its hero engaged in some doomsday adventure to save the galaxy. It’s more of a psycho thriller with streaks of paranormal, built on a straight, uncluttered screenplay.

Nine follows astrophysicist Albert (Prithviraj) and his 7-year-old son Adam who reach the Himalayas to study the trajectory of a comet with a team of researches. It’s a world devoid of electricity and internet, an air of foreboding amplified by mighty mountains and tribals who look at the red trail in the sky with eyes full of alarm. Rich in atmospherics, the narrative takes a spooky spin when Eva (Wamiqa Gabbi), a mysterious woman joins the father-son duo in their sprawling bungalow.

Nine treads unfamiliar terrains in Malayalam in its ambitious attempt to blend drama, horror, suspense and science fiction, and Jenuse Mohamed succeeds in it to a great extent. The film, despite its loose ends and incongruities, keeps you hooked to its novel and crisp narrative as the director works his way through this permeating sense of the unknown. While Abinandhan Ramanujam’s camera effortlessly sweeps you to the vortex of horror and mystery, Sekhar Menon’s sound design renders the film its near-perfect tempo. Prithviraj handles the intricacies of his character with utmost poise and Alok is adorable as little Adam. Wamiqa Gabbi delivers what is demanded as she negotiates the creepy twists and turns, never turning into a bad trade-off.

The only problem with Nine is its hurried climax, the grand revelation that lacks its indispensable crescendo. The film features a highly skippable flashback song sequence, but it loses grit when the most crucial moment of the film arrives. Having said that, Nine is hardly mediocre in any respect and the film is definitely a refreshing watch.

 

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 7:08:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/touching-the-stars-almost/article26226613.ece

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