The Nines

Director: John August
Screenwriters: John August

Institute History

  • 2007 Sundance Film Festival


Three actors—Ryan Reynolds, Hope Davis, and Melissa McCarthy—are a delight playing different roles in the three different scenarios that comprise John August's film The Nines. In "The Prisoner," a troubled television star finds himself under house arrest with his chipper publicist and disillusioned neighbor providing his only link to the outside world. "Reality Television" is a Project Greenlight-style show tracing the behind-the-scenes tribulations of a half-hour sitcom. And in "Knowing," an acclaimed video-game designer and his family have car trouble on an outing and find themselves stranded deep in the woods.

Writer/director August is firmly at the helm of this unique film. The three stories are linked to each other on a metaphysical plane, forming a stylish puzzle of coincidences that questions the underlying notions of both life and art. Does the creator have a responsibility to his or her creations? If we shape the lives we lead on any level, why not on all levels? Are we or are we not responsible for our own happy endings?

If you need tidy conclusions to these and other questions films sometimes pose, The Nines may not be for you. But if you love great writing, direction, and performances and are willing to ask questions, The Nines offers an upbeat, as well as enlightening, adventure.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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