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New Release Review - THE 9TH LIFE OF LOUIS DRAX

A doctor investigates the mysterious past of a comatose boy in his care.






Review by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)

Directed by: Alexandre Aja

Starring: Jamie Dornan, Sarah Gadon, Aaron Paul, Oliver Platt, Aiden Longworth, Molly Parker, Barbara Hershey



Tonally out to lunch, the film veers from sub Pan's Labyrinth fantasy to erotic thriller to twee coming of age drama, and succeeds as none of the above. The 9th Life of Louis Drax is a baffling movie and a bonkers movie, but its great sin is that it's an exceptionally boring movie.



After receiving a worst actor Razzie award for his turn in the much derided Fifty Shades of Grey, Jamie Dornan needed a quick critical turnaround. You can see him in a worthwhile movie soon, the WWII drama Anthropoid, but don't be surprised if The 9th Life of Louis Drax features in next year's Razzie shortlist. This is an absolute trainwreck.


Hot off his own turkey, the Daniel Radcliffe supernatural thriller Horns, director Alexandre Aja adapts a bestselling novel from author Liz Jensen in a fashion that suggests we're either seeing a heavily and poorly edited version of the movie or that Aja's film simply didn't make much sense from the beginning.

The titular Louis (Aiden Longworth) is a nine-year-old boy who has miraculously survived eight life threatening events, but when he falls off a cliff in suspicious circumstances while picnicking with his estranged parents, he enters a coma. It seems he may have used up his ninth life, but a mysterious, husky voiced glob monster (no, seriously) befriends his subconscious, conveniently allowing Louis to have someone to narrate his backstory to.


Louis' doctor, Allan Pascal (Dornan) falls for his pretty but sketchy mother, Natalie (Sarah Gadon), and begins a steamy affair while launching his own investigation into the circumstances around the boy's accident. Allan has a wife, but he doesn't seem all that bothered when she walks out. In fact, Allan seems incapable of any emotion whatsoever. At one point he has an encounter with the aforementioned glob monster in the darkened corridors of his clinic, but he seems to instantly forget this detail, and it's never referred to again. Aja's film won't win any awards for continuity.


Dornan and Gadon are miscast in roles that seem to have been written for older actors, but no performances, even those from stellar character actors Molly Parker and Oliver Platt, could save this mess. Tonally out to lunch, the film veers from sub Pan's Labyrinth fantasy to erotic thriller to twee coming of age drama, and succeeds as none of the above. The 9th Life of Louis Drax is a baffling movie and a bonkers movie, but its great sin is that it's an exceptionally boring movie.

The 9th Life of Louis Drax is in cinemas September 2nd.




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