24 August 2000 | The Truth
During my cinematic explorations I've seen a lot of of far out movies, but The Nine Lives of Thomas Katz has got to be one of the strangest. It's a paranoid yet hilarious film, mixing post-modern end-of-the-world visions with biblical ones. It's one heck of a ride, and though the budget has obviously been quite small, the creators of the film have not let the finances bind their imagination.
In The Nine Lives of Thomas Katz the fair city of London stands on a brink; a solar eclipse is going to darken the skies, and madness begins to emerge. Arcanely dressed Thomas Katz rises from the sewer, and it soon becomes obvious that he is the harbinger (or even the cause) of the chaos to come. The only hope lies in a blind police commander, who is deeply connected with the spirit world. Can he save the white astral child who represents life before Thomas Katz goes through his weird series of metamorphosis, thus sealing the fate of London. And what is Dave going to do about it? What, don't you know who Dave is? Well, he knows who you are, and after you've seen the film you understand why.
When I saw the film the director, Ben Hopkins, was there to present it; he told that much of the dialogue was done by improvisation, and many of the scenes were invented right before they were shot. It's not hard to believe those claims. The Nine Lives of Thomas Katz is not thematical whole; instead it is a series of funny, eerie and surreal scenes portraying the chaos that inhabits our world. While some of these scenes may not work, most of them are, in all their absurdness, scaringly accurate. This clarity of vision covers for the lack of coherence, and makes The Nine Lives of Thomas Katz a worthwhile watch. In it's depiction of irrationality and chaos the film owes much to Luis Buñuel (a debt it openly admits), and it could be even said that this is Buñuel for the post-modern age. Still, the film is highly original in it's own right, and such comparisons should not be taken as claims of plagiarism. Ben Hopkins is not the new Buñuel, but The Nine Lives of Thomas Katz is a film Buñuel would've been proud of.