The Nines, written and directed by John August, finally hit UK shores this week and I’ve been waiting for it for ages ever since I read John’s blogabout how he’d recorded a commentary track for the cinema.
All you had to do was go see the film as normal, then download John’s audio file and put it on your iPod and go back to the cinema and watch it all over again whilst listening to John and actor Ryan Reynolds talk about the film.
It’s a DVD commentary… but in a cinema!
As I have one of those Cineworld Unlimited cards, and an iPod (and am a bit of a techgeek) I leapt at the chance to experiment with the latest in interactive cinema.
The Nines (like John’s debut screenplay, the superb Go) involves three separate stories that overlap, but here he’s examining the responsibilities of TV writers and the dark addictions of role-playing video games. It’s a sinister film where nothing is what it seems and each actor plays three different characters that may all be the same character.
August wrote it following his disastrous experience writing his own TV show and his serious addiction to the World of Warcraft game (“I had to give it up cold-turkey, cancelling my account and throwing out the install disks”).
It’s a cool little sci-fi film that doesn’t feel like a sci-fi film. I like its low budget, indie feel, I like how the three main actors effortlessly inhabit their multiple characters, I like how the phrase ‘look for the nines’ means something different in each story, I like how it gives a sense of resolution but still has you scratching your head as you walk out of the cinema.
And I like the fact that I can go back on a quiet morning and pretty much have the cinema to myself and sit up the back with my iPod on listening to the writer and lead actor talk about what I’m watching on that massive screen.
I like John August, I’ve decided. He writes cool movies and a great blog (I’ve already linked to his brilliant deconstruction of Spiderman 3), and he’s wise to new ways of storytelling and the need for writers to engage with interactive technology (he’s also put the screenplay online, along with all his other work).
Go experience something a bit different. Go look for The Nines.