(M) Sony DVD/BD

Directed by Rob Marshall, whose film adaptation of the Broadway sensation Chicago won rave reviews, Nine is a less engrossing but no less lavishly mounted production.

What little story there is in the film revolves around the self-obsessed filmmaker Guido Contini, who has writer’s block.

The public is clamouring for the next Contini production, which he has bombastically called Italia — a film so breathtakingly audacious as to be the embodiment of the heart and soul of Italy.

Surrounded by a panorama of gorgeous women — including his mistress (Penelope Cruz), devoted wife (Marion Cotillard) and muse (Nicole Kidman) — Contini searches for inspiration in spite of his artistic fall from grace.

This is a gutsy piece of filmmaking, but while it is meant to evoke Fellini in style, it often feels a little forced.

All the women involved in the production give forceful performances but it is Cotillard’s Luisa that truly shines as Guido’s put-upon wife. The two musical numbers “My Husband Makes Movies” and the heart-wrenching “Take it All” are really the centrepiece of the film.

Adrian Drayton


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