Watch The Trailer
Storyline (warning: spoilers)
Will (Winston Duke) is an administrator in an existential no-man’s land. Existing in a time and
space outside of life as we know it, it is his job, along with the help of his assistant and friend
Kyo (Benedict Wong), to vet a group of applicants vying for the chance to be born. Having
previously been alive himself, Will is best suited to make the call and, over the course of nine
days, engages the group in a number of activities designed to assist him in making his decision.
Do not be off put by the unusual concept. While it might seem like an idea that could be hard to
grapple with, by immersing this purgatory world in the familiar – a weatherboard house, the
VHS tapes, the Walkman – Nine Days connects us to normality. In no time at all, we are fully
invested in this world and its inhabitants. As Will interviews the candidates, trying to get a
sense of who they are and how suited to life they might be, we get to know and appreciate
them over their fleeting lifespan. Will offers candidates an opportunity to experience one great
memory in their ephemeral existence, which he and Kyo create using projectors, sound effects
and whatever limited means are at their disposal.
The cast is exemplary. Winston Duke is fantastic and strikes the perfect note as Will. Stern, but
never cold or unlikeable. Dedicated to his job, but undermined by his own feelings and
experiences as a living soul. Bringing a lighter, comedic touch to the film, Wong ensures the
movie is never overwhelmed by melancholy. Zazie Beetz is outstanding as Emma – free
thinking, inquisitive and able to reach Will, even through his emotional shell.
Oda keeps the movie nicely in balance, so Nine Days is neither sugar coated nor
over-romanticised in its storytelling. Acknowledging that life can be cruel and violent and lonely,
Nine Days asks us to resist the temptation to see only the bad. That there is beauty and wonder
to be found everywhere. That ‘simple pleasures’ are a misnomer, because experiencing them is