A counterculture drama for the 21st Century and originally filmed in 2014, The Ninth Cloud finally takes its bow.
Much of this film’s potential in the marketplace four years on from original filming will remain down to Michael Madsen, who co-stars in and co-executive produces the film. Fans who might be expecting something closer to his Tarantino work will be disappointed, but in terms of a change of tack, it is a film worth seeking out.
Zena (Meghan Maczko) is a troubled young woman suffering from personal family trauma, who finds herself holed up in a sub-East London culture of art and bohemian existence. Before long, she zooms in on a mysterious individual, Bob (Madsen) who has ambitions to put on a play in Paris.
Around her, her social circle of friends - who appear to be equally troubled – are beginning to focus on a child of war who has lost their leg and want to help them move forward in her life. One of the group, Brett (Leo Gregory), wants to use the child as a bargaining chip for a photo opportunity in a top London society magazine…
An element of patience is required for The Ninth Cloud as this writer found. At first glance, it may come across as a self-righteous analysis of like-meeting-like in the upper-class echelons of London life, but it is a little different in style to the Working Title or Danny Dyer movies that seem to personify the English Capital.
Fans of Madsen may be shifting nervously in their seats when the warehouse where Bob inhabits doesn’t contain a chair, a razor and a soundtrack with Stealer’s Wheel on the loudspeaker.
Indeed, the film perhaps could use a little of that Tarantino sparkle to lift the spirits. Madsen’s performance is closer in spirit to Jimmy in Thelma and Louise and at times it looks like he is a little uncomfortable in the proceedings and out of place. Maczko does try to convey the demeanour of a woman who is coming to terms with grief and seeking solace in a group of people who she can bounce off, even if they could do with the same level of therapy as she needs.
Overall, The Ninth Cloud is not a bad film, if at times a little disjointed. There are some well-defined relationships in the mix and the group dynamic could have done with added development and tighter characterisation. Characters do seem to be hazy, which I guess is the dynamic of people who are trying to find themselves and we never really get a sense of what their objectives are during the course of the film’s ninety-three minute running time.
Still, The Ninth Cloud is a watchable piece that will provoke constructive conversation amongst British indie film fans.
THE NINTH CLOUD / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: JANE SPENCER / STARRING: MICHAEL MADSEN, JEAN-HUGUES ANGLADE, MEGAN MACZKO, SABINA AKHMEDOVA / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (iTUNES)