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With: Kieran O'Brien, Margot Stilley
Written by: Michael Winterbottom
Directed by: Michael Winterbottom
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 69
Date: 05/16/2004

9 Songs (2005)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Glisten to the Music

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Michael Winterbottom's controversial 9 Songs finally reaches theaters and unspools without much fuss. It will most likely be gone within a week or so.

Even though Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People, In This World) has gone on record defending his art, it's clear that he has made nothing more than a porn movie, and not a very good one. At least a good porn movie has attractive people and offers something titillating or arousing.

9 Songs gives us British Matt (Kieran O'Brien) and American Lisa (Margot Stilley) who meet in London and begin a love affair. Matt tells us in his narration how crazy and sexy Lisa is, and it's a good thing he does because otherwise we couldn't tell. They proceed to get it on, first with new-love passion, then with increasing boredom.

Between sexual acts, the couple goes to concerts and catches such hot bands as Franz Ferdinand, the Dandy Warhols, Primal Scream, and even Michael Nyman. Other bands on the bill include the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the Von Bondies, Elbow and the Super Furry Animals.

Winterbottom attempts to lend some kind of meaning by adding a wraparound sequence of Matt exploring the arctic and taking ice samples as if to say how meaningless it all is

It's too bad 9 Songs is so dull and pointless because Americans could use more films about sex to help erase its current taboo here. To sum up, I've seen better porn movies and worse rock 'n' roll movies.

In 2010, Palisades Tartan released this film on Blu-Ray, and I'm sorry to report that it doesn't improve the film much. The footage, especially the concert stuff, still looks pretty grungy. (Though DVDBeaver reports that it is indeed the best available transfer.) There are no extras, and even the chapter stops are not labeled, which would have been nice if you wanted to skip to your favorite songs.

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