Nine Souls
Toshiaki Toyoda, director

Review by Alyce Wilson

It's difficult to put Nine Souls in a genre, but the closest would probably be drama. Basically, it's a prison escape movie, about nine men who escape prison and what happens to them on the run.

Interestingly, they have freedom and yet they're all still chained to their past. They all want to go back where they came from, where of course they meet some sort of karmic fate. As bloody as it sometimes was, and as crude as it was at other times, the movie made a surprisingly emotional impact.

At the heart of the movie is an unlikely pairing: a man who killed his son and a boy who killed his father. Naturally, they are at odds, with the older man still trying to act like the father for the entire group, and the son wanting to rebel against that authority.

Parts of the film are very dreamlike, where you view things through the fantasies of the different escaped convicts. In this way, we get to see the softer side of these ruined, dangerous, desperate men. These are classic anti-heroes: men with fatal flaws who, nonetheless, have human dreams and aspirations that are often moving and even sweet.

Because of the film's dreamlike quality, the viewer may be left wondering what really happened. Did the convicts really escape from prison? Are they in the real world, the dream world or the afterlife? Regardless, the movie makes some powerful statements about love, passion, human failings and redemption.