A thick pall of tropes has entwined the tale of '9' marked by a generous and committed performance by Prithviraj Sukumaran. His maiden production venture is backed by the absolute traits of a psychological thriller, and Prithviraj elevates this fantasy tale rooted in sci-fi milieu to the realm of the anxieties of a father. As Albert, an astrophysicist, the actor imbibes the complexities and mental conflict of a widower. In fact, his musings become the guiding forces of this movie and the thoughts become decisive steps.
Jenuse Mohamed, who helms his second film, conceives a visual grandeur with spooky elements and that was brilliantly executed by cinematographer Abhinand Ramanujam. Family relationships especially the bond between a father and his little son keeps the momentum going before unravelling the fantasy element. Adam, played by Alok Krishna, gives troubles to Albert and he is forced to change his school. Albert is still pining away about his wife (Mamta Mohandas), who passed away after giving birth to Adam.
Instructed by his mentor Iniyat Khan (Prakash Raj), a noted scientist, Albert reaches the foothills of Himalayas to explore more about a red comet that traverses the earth for nine days. During its arrival, electricity and communication facilities will be snapped. This is a phenomenon that happens once in a thousand years. When Albert bumps into Eva (Wamiqa Gabbi) in the woods, the mystery starts to intrude into his life.
The major problem in '9' is while the haute technical finesse creates a captivating premise, the plot takes a banal route that is mixed with tropes and then the need for a discerning mind arises. The issue is that the shrouded mystery is revealed only to the minds with judicious thoughts. The blend of emotions and bonds is perfectly appealing whereas the fantasy element (read as sci-fi) keeps the ride bumpy.
Prithviraj leads from the front with a committed portrayal of a baffled scientist in '9', which has the traits of a psychological thriller than science fiction. The social behaviour of Adam depresses Albert and he fails to understand him. In a pivotal role, Wamiqa's Eva easily gels with the plot in order to offer some engaging moments. Sekhar Menon's background score is supremely befitting to the theme.
It's technically top-notch with a refreshing premise but the shrouded mystery evokes mixed reactions as the 'virtue-vice' format is hardly unfamiliar. The widespread blackout when the comet arrives is used by Jenuse to narrate the complex mindset of the protagonist. The comet episode carries the shades of hardcore metaphor even as there could have been ample possibilities for a vivid narration sans relying on a topic in the astrophysics. Despite having a satisfactory performance from Prithviraj, the major idea is usurped by the figurative presentation, and it places you in a position to rack your brains hard. Like the protagonist says, one can keep on asking questions until you find the apt conclusion.
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