The 9th Life of Louis Drax

"Very Good"

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Review


With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic story of a rather odd 9-year-old boy and the adults caught in a twisted vortex around him. Emotive acting helps make the characters come to life, and the story's secrets keep the audience hooked as what's actually happening becomes horrifyingly clear.

Louis Drax (Alden Longworth) has had several close encounters with death in his first nine years. Is he immortal? Or just accident prone? His mother Natalie (Sarah Gadon) protects him fiercely, while his father Peter (Aaron Paul) clearly adores him. So what happened on his birthday, when Peter went missing and Louis ended up in a coma after falling from a cliff? While treating him, Dr Pascal (Jamie Dornan) becomes entangled in the drama of their life. He meets Louis' sardonic therapist (Oliver Platt) and Peter's manic mother (Barbara Hershey), and he also gets perhaps a bit too close to Natalie than he should.

Director Alexandre Aja and writer Max Mingella have a lot of fun stirring in references to Hitchcock films, including the San Francisco setting, switching identities, vertiginous heights and a dangerous blonde. They add so many mysteries and red herrings into the plot that the audience is kept happily off-balance for most of the film, waiting for the other shoes to drop. This means that everything feels somewhat overcooked, complete with fantasies, dreams and even some magic. But this gives the cast a lot to play with. Dornan is his usual charming, seductive self, haplessly wooing Natalie even though he already has a hot wife (McGregor). But then Gadon oozes vulnerable lustiness in her role, so he doesn't have much of a chance. And despite the obvious set-up, Paul creates a surprisingly complex character out of Peter, while Hershey has fun chomping on the scenery.

Through all of this, Longworth gives the film an almost supernatural centre, narrating the story from within his coma as the resolutely quirky Louis, who can't quite fit in anywhere. All of the characters in this story have reasons for everything they do, and the snaky story swerves sharply several times before everything is explained. So while the film is rather mannered, it's also sleek and visually engulfing. And what's most surprising is that Aja and Minghella maintain the dramatic and emotional tension right to the end, ultimately touching on several major themes. But to mention what those themes are would be a spoiler.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for The 9th Life Of Louis Drax:



The 9th Life of Louis Drax

Facts and Figures

Genre: /Suspense

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Friday 2nd September 2016

Distributed by: Summit Premiere

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Tim Bricknell

Starring: as Dr. Allan Pascal, as Natalie, as Peter, as Dalton, Aiden Longworth as Louis Drax, as Violet Drax, Fiona Vroom as Receptionist, as Dr. Perez, as Elliott, Anjali Jay as Macy, Lina Roessler as Caitlin, Dakota Guppy as Young Girl, as Dr. Janek, Spencer Drever as Bully Kid, Luke Camilleri as Alex, as Sophie, Alex Zahara as Eduardo Navarra, Goldie Hoffman as ER Nurse, Iris Paluly as Psych Patient #1, Anthony Shudra as Milo, Nels Lennarson as Morgue Technician, Beckham Skodje as Young Louis Drax, David Lloydy as Freddy (Psych Patient), Justin Bowe as Jack, Adam Abrams as X-Ray Doctor, Michael Adamthwaite as Doctor (C-Section), Randi Lynne as ER Nurse

Contactmusic

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