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Overall Rating
1.42

Awesome: 7.69%
Worth A Look: 3.85%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap88.46%

3 reviews, 8 user ratings



9 Songs
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Porn for those too chicken to go into THAT room at the video store"
1 stars

Over the past decade, the insanely prolific British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom has produced no less than thirteen feature-length films–the same number that Stanley Kubrick came up with over the course of his entire career. Many of them–“Code 46,” “In This World” and “Butterfly Kiss”–have been good. A few–I’m thinking “Jude” and “24-Hour Party People”–have been great and one, 2000's “The Claim” is probably one of the best films made in recent years that you have never heard of. Even weaker efforts such as “Wonderland” and “Welcome to Sarajevo” have at least been bold and ambitious works and his filmography as a whole suggests a rare contemporary figure willing to challenge himself every time he steps behind a camera.

That said, I am at a loss to understand what could have inspired him to come up with the likes of “9 Songs.” Sure, a prolific director is bound to roll snake eyes once in a while but this film is so terrible that you can’t believe that someone with Winterbottom’s considerable talents could have could have conceived and executed such a clumsy exercise in amateur-night cinema. All it does is graphically chronicle the sexual relationship between a British glaciologist (Kieran O’Brien) and an American student (Margo Stilley) over the course of a year. Over the course of the film, the sex gets more and more explicit than what is usually seen in even semi-mainstream films–bondage, fellatio and ejaculations all make appearances in scenes designed to be described as “powerful” and “transgressive” by lazy critics who are as desperate to seem cutting-edge as Winterbottom seems to be here.

That is basically it–aside from the occasional bit of dancing, drugging and making agonizingly banal small talk, all that we really see them do is attempt to approximate all the positions of the Kama Sutra. As a break between these scenes, Winterbottom treats us to a series of muddy concert sequences featuring performances from the likes of Franz Ferdinand, The Dandy Warhols and, inexplicably, Michael Nyman.

Unless it was his sole intention to make a pornographic film for people too chicken to go into the back room of their local video store, I have no idea what Winterbottom’s intentions could have been in making this film. If he wanted to tell a story about two people who are only able to communicate through their sexuality, this is a conceit that a.) has been done before more successfully in films such as “Last Tango in Paris” and “Damage” and b.) tends to work better when the characters have some actual on-screen chemistry–relative newcomers O’Brien and Stilley couldn’t strike sparks if they were both armed with blowtorches. If his intention was to use the musical interludes to comment on their relationship, that aspect doesn’t come off because the songs seem to have no evident connection to anything that is going on.

As a result, “9 Songs,” even though it clocks in at only 69 minutes (tee-hee), comes off as nothing more than an interminable bore and the only amusement comes from the framing device of having the glaciologist think back on his affair while traveling through the South Pole–maybe he is going to look up those penguins in order to work on his romantic technique. I have no doubt that Winterbottom will bounce back from this disaster before too long (he already has a new film set to premiere next month at the Toronto Film Festival) and when he looks back on his fling with “9 Songs,” it will be with the involuntary shudder that usually accompanies memories of a brief affair that ended bitterly.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11285&reviewer=389
originally posted: 08/26/05 13:53:37
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2005 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2005 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Atlanta Film Festival For more in the 2005 Atlanta Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/02/10 JL Sensationalist crap 1 stars
9/15/08 Arcane The chick was hot...and the sex was ok. Period. 1 stars
6/03/07 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Cool, a mainstream porn flick. Liked it for the sex, not the artsy fake mumbo-jumbo hype!! 4 stars
5/27/07 Pascal specially the songs are amazingly awesome! 5 stars
3/01/07 Edwin Menguin What a load of shite 1 stars
12/30/05 tatum ...or you could just rent porn; really boring 1 stars
10/25/05 chris fox (the god) great sex scenes 5 stars
1/24/05 Polak Terrible stuff. Walked out with half an hour left. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  22-Jul-2005 (NR)
  DVD: 22-Nov-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  12-May-2005




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