In this low-budget production, director Rodrigo Garcia uses nine continuous takes to tell about a moment in the lives of nine female characters from the L.A. area. By filming in real time, what Garcia does, of course, is to reinforce a sense of reality and immediacy. And to help him do that, he’s assembled an all-star cast who relish the chance to work with a single take, rather than being afraid of the demand for 10 to 14 minutes of perfection. Those are the film’s great strengths—the concept, the camerawork, and the acting.
First up is Elpida Carrillo, who plays Sandra, a young mother serving time in LA County Jail for a crime that’s never revealed, only later vaguely implied. None of these segments is rich with information or backstory. It’s all there in the present—moments of personal crisis that only suggest the lives that these women lead. Unlike Robert Altman’s Short Cuts, which wove together a handful of Ray Carver short stories and created overlapping situations and character encounters, this script pretty much offers nine separate case studies—one right after the other with no transitions—that DO have some overlapping late in the film, but not enough for it to be thematically or narratively significant. In other words, it’s even more minimalist than Short Cuts.
In all of the segments, the emphasis is on moments of painful truth: Robin Wright plays Diana, a pregnant woman who meets a former lover (also married) in the supermarket and contemplates an affair; Lisa Gay Hamilton is Holly, an apparently abused woman who returns to the scene of the crime; Holly Hunter is Sonia, who comes to realize at a dinner party that her relationship is over; Amanda Seyfried is Samantha, a teenager who has to cope with the strained relationship of her parents; Amy Brenneman is Lorna, who runs into an ex- at the funeral of his wife; Sissy Spacek is Ruth, who can’t bear her husband’s disability any longer and ends up with another man; Kathy Baker is Camille, who faces cancer surgery; and Glenn Close is Maggie, who tries to cope with her own loss by having a picnic with a little girl. —Moviemet.com
Rodrigo García (born 24 August 1959) is a Colombian-born television and film director.
García was born in Bogotá, Colombia, the son of Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez and Mercedes Barcha Pardo. Because of this he knew Carlos Fuentes, Julio Cortázar, Pablo Neruda and Luis Buñuel when he was young
García has directed a variety of independent films such as the award-winning “Nine Lives” and “Albert Nobbs” and several episodes of the HBO series, Six Feet Under, Carnivàle, and Big Love. He created, wrote and directed the wildly popular HBO hit “In Treatment” As of 1987, he lives in the United States.
He has also worked as a camera operator and a cinematographer for several films such as Gia, The Birdcage and Great Expectations.
His film Nine Lives was nominated for the William Shatner Golden Groundhog Award for Best Underground Movie, the other nominated films were Green Street Hooligans, MirrorMask, Up for Grabs and Opie Gets Laid. —Wikipedia read more
Garcia wants us to see what we are given, to think about it, ponder how our own lives may or may not be similar but what he relies on, our appreciation for a second at a time with these characters is the very thing that keeps us at a distance and effectively prevents us from caring enough. There are memorable moments, some tantalizing dialog but overall the film fails where Garcia's first film soared.
An absolutely incredible work of art. There is more action in the grocery store scene than in the entire careers of Stallone or Schwarzenegger. Forget about James Cameron or John Woo because Rodrigo Garcia may be the greatest director of action working today.