Blessed is the producer who can read. Well, at least read scripts. Damned is the first-time director who is not hooked up to an individual of this ilk. In "Two Days, Nine Lives", a case of the fatally inexperienced journeying to the edge of a big black hole and then jumping in, producer Taira Rafiq clearly has no more idea how to shape a film than director Simon Monjack, who is left dangling throughout.
Suitable pacing and the right length for a scene elude him entirely. So does an ability to push and prod actors. The entire cast, which miraculously survives this ordeal without blushing once, is saddled with unwieldy slabs of dialogue which Monjack, in an effort to create realism, has opted not to dramatise at all. The result is a continuous volley of dead conversations. A typical example runs as follows: "I just wanna stop using drugs." / "Maybe you'd better stop using people first." And so we leap from one dialogue-heavy scene where nothing happens to another, where nothing happens equally convincingly. This flatness is not helped by Ralph Arliss, as a recovering addict running a rehabilitation centre (home to the seven young folk whose lives we witness), who evidently can't act.
As for robotic exchanges, the director also doesn't twig that filmed conversation requires a camera which prowls (not one that is anchored to the floor), so as to underline ideas, behaviour, and character detail. Moreover, the actors here, including Luke Goss as an extremely wired dad, are not blessed with full roles and so expose us instead to a charming merry-go-round of sobbing, spitting, agonising, and brawling. The finale, centred on a chap called Jesus who has barely been in the film, is an unintentionally hilarious showstopper, involving as it does his grand confession, which is both spectacular and spectacularly unconvincing. What a mess.