The Nines

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The Nin9s
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John August
Produced by Dan Jinks
Bruce Cohen
Dan Etheridge
Written by John August
Starring Ryan Reynolds
Hope Davis
Melissa McCarthy
Elle Fanning
Music by Alex Wurman
Cinematography Nancy Schreiber
Edited by Douglas Crise
Distributed by Destination Films
Newmarket Films
Optimum Releasing
Release date
  • August 31, 2007 (2007-08-31) (United States; limited)
  • November 30, 2007 (2007-11-30) (United Kingdom)
Running time
99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $130,880[1]

The Nines (stylized as The NIN9S) is a 2007 science fiction psychological thriller film written and directed by John August and starring Ryan Reynolds, Hope Davis, Melissa McCarthy, and Elle Fanning. The film debuted at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, and made $63,165 in the U.S. box office through October 11, 2007.[1]

Narrative structure[edit]

The film is broken into three chapters centred around three men (all played by Ryan Reynolds) who try to uncover the secret about strange happenings in their, at times overlapping, lives.

"Chapt9r On9: The Prison9r"[edit]

Gary is a troubled actor who is wearing a green bracelet on his wrist, under house arrest living in another person's house because he burned down his own. The owner of the house is described as a TV writer away on work. While living in the house he is befriended by both a P.R. 'handler', Margaret, and the single mom next door, Sarah, who may or may not be interested in him romantically. Over the course of his house arrest, Gary becomes convinced that he is being haunted by the number nine, including finding a note saying "Look for the nines" in his handwriting. He encounters many occurrences of the number nine, while playing backgammon he rolls nines, while reading newspaper advertisements he becomes obsessed with finding nines. Asking Sarah about the number 9 worries her and she cryptically tells him "I can get you out of here". He also sees different versions of himself around the house, which unsettles him, causing him to break out of his house arrest barrier, which in turn causes a blip in reality.

"Chapt9r Two: R9ality T9l9vision"[edit]

A television writer, Gavin, trying to get his pilot produced. He leaves home to work on his TV show, Knowing, about a mother and daughter who are lost, which stars his friend Melissa as the lead actress. In a conversation about reviews and critics Susan, a television executive and producer of the show, tells Gavin to look for the nines which he then writes on a piece of paper, the same piece which Gary found in Part One. He also tells Melissa he thinks he is haunted by himself. During the process of post production, Susan pushes for Gavin to ditch his friend Melissa as the unconventional lead of his project in favor of a more attractive, well-known actress. This causes an argument between him and Melissa. He then finds out that the well-known actress was actually cast in another show which Susan knew of before suggesting her. Since she is now unavailable and Melissa won't answer Gavin's calls, he confronts Susan about her knowing his show would never get picked up and about him only being a subject on a reality television show. After a heated exchange, he snaps and slaps her. Insulting his manhood for hitting a woman, she scoffs "Do you think you are a man?" and walks away, which leads to him telling the reality TV cameraman to leave him alone. A pedestrian then asks him who he is talking to, and it is shown that the reality television cameraman does not exist. He looks around and notices that everyone has a 7 floating above their heads and also that he has a 9 floating above his head.

A flashback shows Gary's P.R. handler, Margaret, telling him he is a God-like being and that God is a 10, humans are a 7 and that he is a 9 (koalas, incidentally, are 8s because they control weather), therefore he can destroy the world with a single thought, and that he exists in many different forms and that none of them are real. Gary does not believe this and flips out, which is revealed to be the real reason for his breaking his house arrest barrier.

"Chapt9r Thr99: Knowing"[edit]

Acclaimed video game designer Gabriel, whose car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, leaves his wife, Mary, and young daughter, Noelle, to try to get a better signal on his phone. He meets a woman, Sierra (Davis), who leads him off into the woods to her car, so she can give him a lift to the gas station. Meanwhile, back at the car Noelle watches a video on a digital camera showing Gavin talking to Melissa from Part Two and Margaret talking to Gary in Part One. She is confused and shows her mom, who appears confused as well.

Meanwhile, Gabriel shows signs of intoxication, as Sierra had drugged water she was giving him with GHB. She has been trying all along as Sarah, Sierra, Susan to separate the other three incarnations of "G" from Mary. That poisoning him with GHB was the only way to get him to stop long enough to reason with him. She calms Gabriel by telling him that this is an intervention and they (the Prostitute from part 1, and parole officer/agitated man), were trying to help him come home. She likens Gabriel's addiction to video game addiction. That Gabriel has been playing for 4,000 years reincarnating into different roles to play with the humans. The 3 nines plead with him to come back home.

Back at the car, Noelle has gone missing. Gabriel then returns to the car with Noelle in his arms and the family goes home. Mary, who realizes that he is not who he seems, tells Gabriel he needs to go and that the world is not real. Gabriel tells her that there were ninety different variations of the universe and this is the last one. Gabriel then realizes he must go and removes the green bracelet from his wrist, at which point the universe peels away into nothing. The film ends with the woman from all three parts married to Ben, whom she is married to in Part Two, and Noelle as their daughter. Noelle tells her mother that "he's not coming back" and that "all the pieces have been put together" and her mother finishes her sentence that this is "the best of all possible worlds."


  • Ryan Reynolds as a nin9r named: "G", Gary a troubled actor/ Gavin a TV writer/ and Gabriel a Computer-Game designer
  • Melissa McCarthy as Margaret, Gary's PR handler/ Melissa an actress in Gavin's TV show/ and Mary, Gabriel's wife.
  • Hope Davis as a nin9r presumably named "S" Sarah, Gary's Neighbor/ Susan a TV executive for Gavin/ and Sierra a mysterious woman who tries to help Gabriel
  • Elle Fanning as Noelle
  • David Denman as Parole Officer / Agitated Man / Nine
  • Octavia Spencer as Streetwalker (credited) / Pedestrian (uncredited) / Nine


The movie was shot over 22 days in Los Angeles and two days in New York,[2] with some scenes in John August's house.[3] The movie was shot in a combination of video and film with everything being posted in high-definition.[2]



Overall critical reception to the film has been mixed. The film currently holds a 64% "Fresh" approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average critical rating of 5.9/10, while holding a 62% approval rating from audiences, with an average audience score of 6.6/10.[4] On Metacritic, the film holds a meta-score of 52/100, indicating mixed or average reviews, based on 12 critical reviews: 6 positive, 3 mixed, and 3 negative. However, Metacritic's user reviews indicate generally favorable reviews, with a meta-score of 69/100, based on 31 reviews.[5]

Awards and nominations[edit]

34th Saturn Awards


  • Best DVD release


  1. ^ a b Box Office Mojo: The Nines
  2. ^ a b "So I made a movie". John August. Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  3. ^ "Movies look nothing like reality". John August. Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  4. ^ "The Nines - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-07-07. 
  5. ^ "The Nines Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic. Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-07-07. 
  6. ^ "The 34th Saturn Award Nominations". The Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror Films. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 

External links[edit]