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9 Songs

A Cacophonous, Carnal Catastrophe

9 Songs opens with Matt (Kieran O'Brien) waxing nostalgic about his recently ended passionate love affair with Lisa (Margo Stilley) as he glides over the omnipresent whiteness of the South Pole. This is but one of a few gorgeous shots of this quiet, barren landscape and these shots are unfortunately the only real reason to sit through 9 Songs.

Well…there is the glut of gratuitous, graphic sex that likely will appeal to some. Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People) constructs a film that truly is little more than an attempt at "high brow" pornography. Rest assured, you see EVERYTHING in this film. There is no subtlety, no allusion, and no suggestion.

This candid portrayal of an intense sexual relationship between two people is not necessarily offensive; it just leaves you feeling pretty empty. There's little emotion or true feeling behind the sex these two share. This makes sense given the fact that Winterbottom chooses to reveal virtually nothing about Matt or Lisa.

What we do know is that Matt is a glaciologist with an affinity for rock music and fucking Lisa. Lisa is an American with an affinity for rock music and fucking Matt. This shared affinity for carnal knowledge of the other is not nearly enough to carry a feature film. While we are perhaps supposed to care about the trajectory of this "relationship", there's really no substance to it, so what is there to care about?

Periodically interrupting the bedroom festivities, are live songs (9 in total!) performed by various bands (The Dandy Warhols, Goldfrapp, The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, etc.). While it's clear some of these songs are meant to reflect on the evolution of Matt and Lisa's relationship (or Matt's reflections on the relationship), they don't really add much to the film other than a segue into the next graphic sexual interlude.

Michael Winterbottom's 9 Songs is a film with feebly constructed characterization, boring gratuitous sex, and no real compelling narrative to speak of. Skip 9 Songsand buy the soundtrack instead. At least there are a few good tracks worth a listen.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars