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9th Life of Louis Drax, The


Stars: Aiden Longworth, Jamie Dornan, Sarah Gadon, Aaron Paul, Molly Parker, Oliver Platt, Julian Wadham, Anjali Jay

Director: Alexandre Aja

What starts almost in comedic vein progresses to an intriguing if not always successful psycho-thriller. The plot doesn't quite make sense but, in its own warped way, it's close enough to it to give you the odd shiver.

Louis Drax (Longworth), now aged nine, is the ultimate accident-prone little boy. From the time a chandelier fell on his cot, he has suffered a life-threatening accident for every year of his young life.

But when he falls from a cliff into the sea, while his horrified mother Natalie (Gadon) watches - his stepfather Peter (Paul) disappears - he's pronounced dead and transferred to the morgue.

Two hours later, the chief surgeon (Wadham) and charismatic younger doctor Pascal (Dornan) are amazed when Louis shows signs of life.

Subsequently, Pascal is drawn closer to Mrs Drax, and there are key flashbacks in which we see Louis psychoanalysed by Dr Perez (Platt) - or is it the other way round? - and going to the zoo with his stepfather, where they run into Peter's former wife.

Later developments occur mainly in the boy's head as he lies in a coma, but it becomes pretty obvious some time before the end where screenwriter (and actor) Max Minghella is headed. Good performances all round, but there are lapses of conviction here that keep this below the level of the best of its kind.

David Quinlan

UK/Canada 2016. UK Distributor: Soda . Colour (unspecified).
108 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 28 Aug 2016