“The Nines” begins with the protagonist tightly winding three pieces of green twine around his wrist to make a bracelet. Just like “Go” (also written by veteran screenwriter John August), you’ll have to do some mental basket weaving to figure out what’s really going on. Instead of the traditional three-act structure, both movies are split into three short films that are as interconnected as… yep, you guessed it, a twine bracelet.
Allow me to blow your mind for a second, here. If God is a Ten and human beings are the Sevens, then what would the Nines be? That’s a good question “The Nines” doesn’t really get around to answering, except to say that they’d really enjoy playing The Sims. In their advanced version of the game, we’re the Sims – mere playthings that can have our lives erased or reset in an instant. Ryan Reynolds plays a godly game addict who’s forgotten he’s even playing, leading some other Nines to infiltrate his world with the intention of screwing it up so badly that he’ll come back home. Long story short, it turns out that any creator is ultimately responsible for his creations.
The Defending Champion
“Go” never makes any bones about being a minimum-wage “Pulp Fiction,” the coveted score here being $400 instead of a mysterious glowing briefcase. We start with Ronna, a disenchanted supermarket drone who spits out “Paper or Plastic?” like an insult. She’s going to be evicted–on Christmas Day, no less–unless she can summon up some cash, pronto. Her ingenious solution? Taking over a minor drug deal for Simon, a coworker who wants to escape to Vegas for the holidays. As you might imagine, things go from bad to worse when she attempts to cheat Simon’s dealer after losing the drugs during a run-in with the cops, a decision whose consequences echo throughout the next two stories.
Thematically, the two contenders couldn’t be more different. “The Nines” attempts to answer a complex philosophical question from three different angles, each represented by Reynolds as he transforms from actor to screenwriter to game designer. “Go” exists for the sake of its own excess, each incident piling up on the last because the characters are all too impulsive to worry about what they’re doing.
Three parts to each, but only one decision here…
Despite John August’s clever writing, “The Nines” can’t seem to get past the weight of its own premise. As much as I wanted to like the film, it gets bogged down in a confusing sense of limbo where particular scenes are enjoyable but the film as a whole isn’t. “Go,” on the other hand, has too much kinetic energy to slow down just because it’s a few years old. Go see “Go.”