Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger
Starring: Luke Goss, Sabrina Van Tassel, Susan Jameson
Director: Simon Monjack
TWO DAYS, NINE LIVES, which is mostly set at a rehabilitation clinic, follows the lives of seven residential cases and the two counsellors involved with the group.
The movie begins with a look into how Saul (Luke Goss) ends up at the clinic. While arguing with his girlfriend Claire (Rosie Fellner) on his mobile and driving manically with his daughter in the back seat, Saul crashes the car. Luckily both of them survive. Claire cannot take much more of Saul’s dependency on drugs and forces him to go to the rehabilitation clinic to sort himself out. While there he forms an attachment with Joanna (Georgia Reece) who is a highly strung heroin addict and is also HIV positive. Her past is a constant torture to her.
Rupert (Simon Shepherd) is a civil servant with a serious gambling problem. With the bills piling up and a wife who is ready to take the kids and leave, Simon goes to the clinic hoping that he can sort his life out before he loses everything. The other residents there are Star (Sabrina Van Tassel) who is a self confessed sex addict and Jesus (Glenn Carter) who for most of the movie is silent. Why is he there?
To rock the boat is Danny (Jonathan Bruun) who plays the angry young man who keeps falling to the wayside whenever it seems that he’s kicked his drug habit. The latest member to join this group is Katie (Sienna Guillory) who is a young pop star hooked on cocaine.
To guide the group is Polly (Susan Jameson) and Clive (Ralph Arliss) who himself has his own ghosts to lay to rest. As we follow the group during the next 48 hours, we slowly see who pairs off with whom and later on in some cases why and the effect this would have on the others. Saul and Joanna are drawn to each other and somehow control the group. Danny is drawn to Katie where both are reluctant to face up to their own demons.
Clive decides to focus on Saul who is tormented by an attack, where he killed a man in self-defence. Together with Rupert, Joanna and Danny he re-enacts the event but mock violence turns real as he and Danny go at each other. Danny feels humiliated and confides in Katie that Saul reminds him of his father, only worse. Danny draws closer to Katie and she tells him she has smuggled drugs into the clinic. Meanwhile Saul blames Clive for what had just happened. On seeing Clive, Danny vents his anger at Clive’s standoff approach to the afternoon session, but also reveals his own anger toward his parents, blaming them and society for his condition. Danny then tells Katie he is leaving the clinic that night.
Star and Joanna’s friendship continues to build and Star works out that Joanna is HIV positive. Meanwhile, Danny and Saul continue to provoke each other and in an act of rage that should have been directed at Saul, Danny head butts Jesus and goes off to Katie. Later on at the last session of the day, Danny and Saul clash again. Star stops the violence by telling the group she was raped. Danny spits angry words at her to say she deserved the rape. Saul has the last word, humiliating Danny as he leaves the room.
How will Danny escape from the clinic and what effect will this have on the rest of the group when they find out?
The interesting thing about this movie is that the script keeps the characters feet firmly on the ground and does not glamorise any aspect of the clinic. Luke Goss is actually a revelation here and is backed up with a convincing cast. As the director, Simon Monjack, who was also one of the screenwriters, has stated about the script, it is not the predictability of a given event, it is why the event happened. While this is not a typical sit down with your tub of popcorn movie, this is a close study of human behaviour of people’s lives who have come off the rails and whether they want to get themselves sorted out or not.