Louis Drax is smarter than most kids, and wittier than most adults. He is uniquely perceptive to his surroundings, which builds the mystery over why this astute boy has had such a broken life. After a mysterious fall over a cliff, The Ninth Life of Louis Drax guides audiences in figuring out the emotional and physical turmoil that led Louis to a comatose state and potentially his 9th and final life.
The 9th Life of Louis Drax is a fantastical look into the intelligence and abuse a child can obtain. It is a heart-wrenching journey that is made manageable by the vivid imagination and charming narration of its lead Aiden Longworth, i.e. Louis Drax. Although the film suffers from a bit of a slow pacing, Longworth assures that you care enough about Louis to see whether he is truly cursed or abused. Even Louis admits he has “bad luck”, but the accidents he suffers, though given mystical elements through Louis’ recalling of them, seem too suspicious. At times, they may even be too much to watch. After all, you are witnessing a child consistently get hurt. Yet, Louis’ sparkling humor and rambunctious nature relieves you from being too afraid for his fate. Moreover, it builds the film to an exhilarating twist and a solid end.
The 9th Life of Louis Drax is based on the international best-seller by Liz Jensen, and I have to say, actor Max Minghella did an excellent job transforming it into a screenplay. The film never loses its supernatural-thriller undertones, which is what made the book so rich and its plot twists doubly felt. Admittedly, it is hard to write this review because I do not wish to spoil the goodness of this film. Although I mentioned its problems with pacing, once the mystery surrounding Louis’ fall begins to unravel, it speeds into fascination. Who pushed Louis? Was it his his mother Natalie? Or his father Peter? Was he even pushed? These questions circle your mind, and are only furthered by the thoughtful performances of its cast.
Aaron Paul as Louis’ dad Peter is equal amounts heartwarming and troubled. Throughout the film you never know where to place him, as he too is a suspect, but his tender father-son moments with Louis will leave you sobbing from the love. The same can go for Sarah Gadon as Natalie. She too is a character that from the beginning will have everyone’s “potential crazy radar” going off. I saw Sarah Gadon in the film Indignation and her take on the mentally unstable Olivia was equally enthralling. She is officially an actress that can turn on the insanity of a character. For however “sweet” she plays, you the viewer know that her beauty is a cover for her inner ugliness. Unfortunately, Jamie Dornan’s Dr. Allan Pascal is not equally conscious of her malice. Dornan serves one of his best acting performances, beyond his role in Anthropoid, as the oddly naive, but intellectually renown doctor, whom believes he can awaken Louis from his coma and figure out how he fell in the first place.
Ultimately, The 9th Life of Louis Drax thrives as a film because it is distinct in its story and intriguing in its delivery. I can 100% affirm that there has been no film like it or that there is, currently, no movie in theaters similar to it. Hence, it is a refreshing movie choice for those that want to see something different on the big screen. The 9th Life of Louis Drax was directed by Alexandre Aja, and will be released in theaters on September 2.