9 Songs Reviews
Directed by: Michael Winterbottom
Summary: Love blooms between an American student and a British glaciologist in this explicit romance with an underground-rock soundtrack. The film follows Lisa (Margo Stilley) and Matt (Kieran O'Brien) from the time they meet at a concert until Lisa departs for home. Their steamy relationship is set to the songs of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Von Bondies, Elbow, Primal Scream, The Dandy Warhols, Super Furry Animals, Franz Ferdinand and Michael Nyman.
My Thoughts: "There isn't much to say about this film. It's basically porn with some good music here and there. Really not much of a story-line. Waste of time for me. I should have read the reviews before watching this, but being a fan of music I wanted to see what the music was all about in this film. I got more ass and tits, and a bit of dick more then I did the music.. I will pass it along to others, but don't say I didn't warn you.. It's a really bad film."
Well, sort of. This is a tale of a relatively short relationship that plays out against a backdrop of modern British music (the two leads attend concerts together frequently). The film is a part of that teeny cinematic niche of sex films where the actors are clearly doing the actual deeds. Going in with lowered expectations as a result, I was surprised at how good the performances were. And sad, too, since these are the kinds of roles that will really keep the leads from finding work again in mainstream cinema.
It's not the deepest film, but it achieved a level of emotional and physical honesty.
And yeah, REALLY EXPLICIT. Really. Yes, THAT explicit.
In London, England, love blooms between an American college student, named Lisa, and a British glaciologist, named Matt, where over the next few months in between attending rock concerts, the two lovers have intense sexual encounters.
Two dreary, unattractive heterosexuals with execrable taste in music conduct a sexual relationship over the space of a year. The film is distinguished by its use of real sex for added verisimilitude in the bonking scenes, yet the couple are so abstracted from the world about them that you would be hard-pressed to describe the film as an example of realist cinema. I suppose it may say something about the barren lives of the urban Western middle classes, although what Antarctica has to do with it all bog only knows. Rarely since Deep Throat have human sexual organs looked so unappealing.
The rock music is mostly from live concerts. If the music that people pogue and stage dive to is not for you, you probably won't want to sit through an hour of it (check the soundtrack listings - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Von Bondies, Salif Keita, Franz Ferdinand, Primal Scream, Dandy Warhols, Goldfrapp, Super Furry Animals, Elbow - do you recognise/like a few of them?) The sexual explicitness is a matter of personal taste - and tastes in sexuality vary a lot. If you can identify or empathise to some extent to this 20-some young couple and feel comfortable seeing how their relationship develops through sex and rock music you may, as I did, find it beautiful and intimate. The lovemaking is so natural that it is in sharp contrast to the fictionalised and very artificial sex scenes in mainstream films. There's also some wonderful symbolism in contrasting shots and details of Antarctica (connected to the daytime work of the main character). It's also a triumph British cinema that the Censors have allowed it to reach mainstream cinemas uncut.
What is annoying and so interesting about 9 songs is that there is no story line. As the movie is a splice of flash backs, though they run chronologically, they don't make a story line; so the movie doesn't really go anywhere and you don't learn anything about them. But this is whats so interesting about it. If you keep in mind that it is a retrospective, Matt is remembering the best times of the relationship; and that is when he is having sex with Lisa and when they attend the concerts.
9 songs has been called one of the most sexually explicit movie of our age. This can be rightly so as this does have real sex scenes. But though it does have real sex scenes, this isn't in the fashion of a pornographic movie. A lot of the time in the sex scenes, most of the time we only see extreme close ups of the faces or other part of their body. With this style of filming, the sex scenes aren't that confronting; but there is a lot of nudity. The movie was shot on high definition hand held cameras, so the quality is fuzzy and shaky, so you don't get a complete feel of the surroundings.
The bands at the concerts have The Dandy Warhols, Elbow, Franz Ferdinand, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Von Bondies, Primal Scream, Super Furry Animals.
9 songs runs much in the vein of 'In the realm of the senses', a Japanese movie which also had a couple which we only see having sex the entire movie. Though 9 songs can be confronting at times, it lacks a lot of substance; from the lack of no story line. But this is one of the most interesting portrayal of a couples relationship. There are a lot of metaphors in here as well. The best is when Matt says that being in bed with someone can be so claustrophobic and agoraphobic at the same time.
Though I would say you should see this movie, this is a movie thats not for everyone. Only for adventurous viewers.
Starring: Kieran O'Brien, Margo Stilley.
The main reason behind seeing this film was because of Michael Winterbottom's name on it. I had heard so much about him and having recently seen 'A Mighty Heart', I was instantly gripped by his close, hand held style and the way he brings out the best in his actors...so what the hell is this?
The story follows a young American college student and a slightly older English man, who meet at a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club concert in London. They instantly have a connection, they fall in love and their relationship is intensely sexual...but it isn't all happy endings.
The fact that this film can't decide what it wants to be makes it a problem to start with. The cuts are fine, nothing amateurish about it, but the fact that the structure is so terribly stupid, cutting from Antarctica (where we are meant to care about the facts), to a live music performance, to a sex scene, to drug taking...and repeat, it ruins it. I will give credit for some great songs and one sex scene (but only one out of about 5) that is very erotic and sexy, but the characters are cardboard cutouts and terribly dull, with dialogue to match ('When I kiss you, I just want to bite your lip!') and with the help of the other sex scenes and the jumps between pointless scenes make it even more tedious.
The acting consists only of two, one bearable, one atrocious. Margo Stilley certainly isn't acting when she is getting dicked, but the small sequences in between where she delivers her dialogue are torture and Kieran O'Brien is fine, but what does he have to work with?
Wasn't quite as erotic as I would have expected, with one sex scene that is erotic and sensual and a couple of good songs, they don't make up for the terrible structure, dull characters and the fact that for the 68 minute running time (yes, it can't even be a full length film), 10 minutes worth of it tries to make us care. Not worth anyone's time.
[font=Century Gothic]In "9 Songs", Michael Winterbottom gives us another lesson in guerrilla filmmaking. The concert footage feels like we are actually in the concert hall seeing the performance. It is cool that the sex is not always vanilla but I do have trouble with a couple of Matt's reactions in some places. I think I would have liked the movie more if it had been longer, so we could have gotten to know the characters better. And the ending is rather abrupt but maybe that's for the best. In the end, I found "9 Songs" unexpectedly poignant and deeply erotic. [/font]
I would say 9 songs is one of the most sexually explicit movie of this time. As this does have real sex scenes. But though having real sex scenes, it is not a pornographic movie. Some time in the sex scenes, what we saw was extreme close ups of the faces or other part of their body. With this style of filming, the sex scenes aren't that real, but there was lot of nudity. In the last part of the movie we saw the real thing.
You could watch this to gain insight how real relationships are and take a break from the Hollywood norm.