‘The 9th Life of Louis Drax’ is a Very Ambitious Misfire

GameStop, Inc.

The 9th Life of Louis Drax

The audience first sees young Louis Drax (Aiden Longworth) as he’s falling off a cliff towards the camera. The voiceover of the 9-year-old boy informs us that he’s “the amazing accident prone boy.” Then the young boy takes us through his history of calamity in a quirky little montage illustrating the various forms of physical harm that he’s been subjected to over his brief life – electrocution, broken bones, and food poisoning among other ailments. This opening scene suggests that The 9th Life of Louis Drax, the new film from director Alexandre Aja, might be a whimsical little tale about a boy incapable of staying clear of harm. However, it doesn’t take long for The 9th Life of Louis Drax to dispel this notion as it devolves into a chaotic piece of self-serious storytelling that sheds each and every layer of its quirky charms as the film runs on and on.

Adapting the novel of the same name by Liz Jensen, the narrative of The 9th Life of Louis Drax bounces all over the place with little rhyme or reason as it’s unfolding. On one hand, there’s the story of Louis’ most recent accident that leaves him in a coma. The film takes us into his mental perspective while comatose, sometimes engaging in conversations with a Swamp Thing-like creature or narrating past events of his life, like his therapy sessions with Dr. Perez (Oliver Platt). Meanwhile, the film also explores the efforts of Dr. Allan Pascal (Jamie Dornan), a coma specialist who soon finds himself infatuated with Louis’ case and develops a crush on his grief stricken mother Natalie (Sarah Gadon). Even further, Louis’ father Peter (Aaron Paul) is suspected in having pushed his son off the cliff that left the child in a coma, and everyone is interrogated by the icy Detective Dalton (Molly Parker).

All of the story threads ping pong back and forth in a manner that never coheres for the audience, as if the screenplay by Max Minghella is holding something back for a late reveal without the benefit of making us emotionally invested in what’s happening.

There’s undoubtedly some big ambition behind Aja’s film, but the execution never operates on the same level as its ambition. The way with which Aja and Minghella keep story details close to the vest diminishes the film’s intended emotional impact, rendering the film either boring or confusing for much of the film’s 90-minute running time. Its attempts at misdirecting the audience are clumsy, and the big reveals are more likely to inspire exaggerated eye rolls than surprise or emotional resonance.

The great weakness that The 9th Life of Louis Drax just can’t overcome is the deadly seriousness with which it handles its story. The opening of the film promises whimsy and quirkiness only to ditch that notion entirely once the opening credits are finished. As the film progresses from one incredibly serious scene to another, the film’s need for an injection of levity becomes astoundingly apparent. Don’t get me wrong, there are little chuckles that come from the film, mainly the interactions between Aiden Longworth and Oliver Platt, but they’re few and far between. Even the minor moments of humor are given a disservice by the scenes that follow, all of which feature performances that are stone-faced from actors on the verge of declaring, “I. AM. SERIOUS.” That’s not to say that all of the actors are dead weights in the movie, but they’re all handling the material with such a dour tone that it all comes across as incredibly off-putting.

Alexandre Aja’s camera is a lot like the plotting of The 9th Life of Louis Drax. It’s always moving around, often without little rhyme or reason. Much of the cinematography by Maxime Alexandre is garish, but its over-lit quality gives the film a dream-like sheen. That would work the film’s benefit in the hallucinatory sequences of Louis’ mind within the coma, but it works against the film when it’s scenes in a hospital of two people talking.

The 9th Life of Louis Drax is such a scatter-brained piece of filmmaking that its strengths quickly turn into weaknesses. You really want to root for this little film to coalesce into a compelling whole, but you’re left in the seat waiting and waiting for that moment to arrive, and when it does it’s entirely underwhelming. Alexandre Aja brings a lot of ambition to this adaptation, but seemingly leaves the novel’s structure intact at the sacrifice of cinematic qualities. There was potential for The 9th Life of Louis Drax to be something more than it is, but it just holds itself back in so many different ways.

The 9th Life of Louis Drax
  • Overall Score


Incredibly self-serious and all over the map, The 9th Life of Louis Drax is incapable of reining in all the ambition of director Alexandre Aja’s adaptation of Liz Jensen’s best-selling novel.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Eric Bana Talks ‘Force of Nature: The Dry 2’ – Interview

Eric Bana Returns for the sequel to ‘The Dry‘ in ‘Force...

Letitia Wright’s Talks about her Latest Film ‘Aisha’ – Interview

Letitia Wright’s latest film, ‘Aisha‘, a story about immigration, resilience, friendship...

Blake Crouch and Matt Tolmach Talk ‘Dark Matter’ Coming to AppleTV+ – Interview

‘Dark Matter‘ a science fiction thriller series based on the novel...

Event News Event Reviews
Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ Takes You to A Whole New World at Segerstrom – Review

Disney’s Aladdin takes the audience on a thrilling chase and a wonderous place...

Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach on The Queen Mary this Halloween

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach for the...

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice’ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the Arts – Review

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice‘ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Oscar De La Hoya Partners with El Rey for ‘Friday Night Fights’ – Interview

The Golden Boy himself chatted with us about Golden Boy Promotions...

Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Paralympian Swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger On The Road to Paris

Team USA Paralympian Swimmer, Ahalya Lettenberger is On The Road to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part something: Hermione and the Mini-gun pt 2

Have a lead salad instead!

Fantoy Comics Presents – Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part ?: Hermione and the mini-gun pt 1

It can't fire more than 6,000 per minute!

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse: Kurt v Sid – HASTA!

Hasta La Vista Baby!

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Roye Okupe Brings Authentic African Representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network

Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...