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This twee pic about a comatose boy flashing over his life is a terrible mess of forced whimsy
THE 9TH LIFE OF LOUIS DRAX (Alexandre Aja). 108 minutes. Opens Friday (September 2). See showtimes. Rating: N
There are movies made for children, and there are movies made from a child’s perspective. And then there are those awful, condescending movies that treat the viewer like a child – and I’m sad to report that The 9th Life Of Louis Drax is one of those.
The latest from Alexandre Aja (High Tension, Horns) is a terrible mess of inconsistent tone and awkwardly forced whimsy, a tortured adaptation of Liz Jensen’s novel about a comatose boy and the doctor trying to treat him.
As little Louis (Aiden Longworth) flashes back over life with his devoted father (Aaron Paul) and even more devoted mother (Sarah Gadon), we’re treated to fanciful vignettes and caricatures of meddling grown-ups, including Oliver Platt as a nosy psychologist – while in the present, noble Dr. Allan Pascal (Jamie Dornan) finds himself drawn to Louis’s mother.
What happens next isn’t exactly surprising. Honestly, the only surprise is that Aja and screenwriter Max Minghella have poured so much effort into such a dopey, fragmented film.
At times, they seem to have asked themselves what Wes Anderson or Jean-Pierre Jeunet would do, and I have to admit I wondered that, too. At the very least, those filmmakers would have given these characters distinct personalities and found a consistent tone for the story.
Not that that would have fixed the ending, mind you.