David Soul tragically not included.
First a note
Of all the reviews I have posted before I started Cinematic Diversions, none was more hated than my review of 9 Souls. Not because of any objectionable content, mind you. The film turns out to be beloved among a group of people (At least a hundred of them based on the negative feedback I had received,) and I gave the movie a rather harsh 3 out of 10 score.
But rereading the review, I have a companion theory. The review kinda sucks. It is not my strongest work. I suspect if I watched the movie today, I would write a more organized and comprehensive review.
That is not not going to happen. For one thing, 9 Souls does not appear to be available on any current streaming services. Also, as bad as my review is, the movie is even worse. I am not sitting through that nonsense again.
So out of a sense of completionism, masochism and laziness, here is my old review of 9 Souls. But if this is the first review of mine, you are reading try another one. I just wrote a Cast Away review that is nice.
And Finally The Review
9 Souls (Nain souruzu) (2003): 3 out of 10: Here is another film critics will love. The problem is that it is not a very good movie.
The film’s premise is simple. Nine convicts escape a prison after the tenth one goes crazy and tells them where the treasure is.
The first half has a lot of slapstick, some of it very broad, while the second half is a character-driven descent into fantasy and melancholy.
The two halves don’t mix. Individual scenes do work very well. The guys crashing a friend’s house who has a new Filipino bride is hilarious while a later scene with the big guy working in the restaurant tugs at the heartstrings. They simply don’t mesh with each other.
The movie as well is missing entire set-ups. One scene shows the guys desperately looking for change under a deserted vending machine to buy a snack. The very next scene has the entire crew in drag sitting down in a restaurant. Where did they get the dresses and wigs? (The crew includes both the big guy and a midget) How did they get all the clothes and money to buy the meal? And most puzzling is, why are they in drag?
They are clearly guys in drag and lets face it, is there anything more memorable to witnesses than a big guy and a dwarf eating a meal dressed as women? I mention the big guy and the dwarf because besides the old guy, everyone else seems to blend into each other. (In fact, they wear matching white jumpsuits throughout most of the movie) The movie has very little character development in the first half and as a result the second half really lacks an emotional punch. As we are often trying to figure out who is who in their individual payoff scenes.
Speaking of a drag, the second half has all those wonderful sweeping camera shots and big emotional moments and great symbolism that makes a great film. It is also excruciatingly slow, which makes for a boring movie.
9 Souls is an enormous disappointment, the reviews gush about a brilliant film and it’s in there somewhere, good luck finding it yourself.