In 2004, London-based novelist Liz Jensen’s book ‘The Ninth Life of Louis Drax’ was at the centre of a fierce Hollywood bidding war. More than ten years later, here comes the film – and it’s hardly been worth the wait. Written by actor Max Minghella (who took on the film after the death of his dad, Anthony Minghella, ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ director), this is a murder mystery without much mystery, flatly acted and laughably unconvincing in places.
It’s narrated from a coma by Louis, an obnoxious and accident-prone American nine-year-old who has fallen off a cliff and is under the care of a neurologist (Jamie Dornan, with a facial expression fixed on ‘concerned and caring’). Louis’s dad (‘Breaking Bad’ actor Aaron Paul) is on the run, suspected of giving the kid a shove, while his mum (Sarah Gadon) is too perfect to be true. It all goes a bit mystic and paranormal at the end, by which point the plot has disappeared into a ravine.