What went wrong with Nine?
On paper, this glossy musical looked a sure-fire hit.
- It’s got a starry cast headed by Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard and Penélope Cruz (Oscar winners all, as are co-stars Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench and Sophia Loren);
- It’s based on a Tony-award-winning Broadway show – itself spun from Federico Fellini’s classic, Oscar-winning movie 8½;
- It has a script by the classy duo of Michael Tolkin (The Player) and the late Anthony Minghella (The English Patient);
- And in Rob Marshall it boasts a director whose similar stage-to-cinema transfer Chicago scooped up Academy Awards by the armful and coined it at the box-office.
This time, however, these expensive ingredients have produced a dud – which must have been galling for producer Harvey Weinstein, who was surely expecting a shelf-load of gongs and ticket receipts to match.
Dan’s the man this time. He’s womanising, world-famous film director Guido Contini, preparing to shoot his latest film in Rome in 1965 but stricken with creative block as he tries to juggle the many women in his life – including long-suffering wife Luisa (Cotillard), volatile mistress Carla (Cruz) and movie star muse Claudia (Kidman). Tottering on the verge of a nervous breakdown, he finds his fantasy life blurring with reality.
In 8½, Marcello Mastroianni – clearly Fellini’s flattering alter ego – oozed mischief and fun in the role, notwithstanding his character’s neuroses. Day-Lewis, over-egging the angst as well as the Eye-talian accent, is charmless and insufferable.
But the person you really want to slap is Marshall, whose brash directing style – ideal for the brazen Chicago – simply doesn’t suit Nine’s more whimsical charms.
Released on DVD & Blu-ray by Entertainment in Video.