Review by Lauryn Angel
The 9th Life of Louis Drax has a lot going on, and for much of the film it’s unclear whether Alexandre Aja’s latest film is a family drama, a medical drama, or even a crime story. Unfortunately, while the film has great potential for all three genres, it never really finds a direction.
By the time Louis Drax (Aiden Longworth) reaches his ninth birthday, he has already earned a reputation as “the amazing accident-prone boy.” After a montage of Louis’s near-death experiences that reminded me quite a bit of the opening of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie, we reach the ninth mishap: Louis falls off a cliff and ends up in a coma. It’s unclear whether Louis fell or was pushed by his father, Peter (Aaron Paul). The only witness is Louis’ mother, Natalie (Sarah Gadon), whose behavior raises more questions than it provides answers. Dr. Alan Pascal (Jamie Dornan) treats Louis while trying to assist Detective Dalton (Molly Parker) and Louis’ former psychiatrist, Dr. Perez (Oliver Platt) in figuring out what really happened. The story switches perspectives and timelines, as we join Louis in his coma, navigating through a dream-like space, and experience parts of the story in flashback, as various characters add their perspectives.
One of the problems with the film is Louis Drax himself. The film’s opening presents Louis as a likeable character, but the testimony of other characters reveals him to be more than a little obnoxious and violent. By the end of the film, Louis is back to being a sympathetic character, but this happens in the last fifteen minutes of the film – really too late for the resolution to be satisfying.
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