9 Songs [2004]

9 Songs [2004]

9 Songs [2004]
Directors: Michael Winterbottom
Genre: Drama/Music/Romance
Language: English
Country: UK

Sex, drugs and rock & roll. Literally.

9 Songs is a British film from director Michael Winterbottom that has received some degree of notoriety due to its excessive and graphic sex scenes. In between the increasingly more hardcore endeavors, the movie shows concert footage from Brixton Academy and other music venues. Basically, the movie is half-concerts and half-porn.

There isn’t much of a story here. A guy (Kieran O’Brien) and a girl (Margo Stilley) meet at a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club show, hit it off and then embark on a frantic fling that is equal parts sex, drugs and rock & roll. The movie jumps back and forth between random concert footage, sex, and the occasional shots of Antarctica (because the dude is a glaciologist). That’s it. As mentioned earlier, the scenes become more graphic as the movie goes on. Most of these scenes are short in length, and would really only be offensive to prudes. There is a scene of male ejaculation, allegedly the first “mainstream” film to show this, and later on there is actual penetration shown, but there really isn’t anything exciting about all of this. Some consider it “art” and I suppose technically it is, but that doesn’t mean it is good and/or entertaining. Without any real context to piece everything together, I found it difficult to maintain my interest.

To be fair, there were two things I did like about this movie. One, the actors used were not gaudy porn star-types — they were normal looking folk who certainly wouldn’t be out of place at the concerts they frequented. Two, there was a lot of good music from bands like Franz Ferdinand, Primal Scream and Super Furry Animals. Unfortunately, the concert sequences were often aborted early, and in general, the pacing used throughout felt rough overall.

I have only seen one of Winterbottom’s other movies – 24 Hour Party People – and I quite enjoyed it. I respect his decision to try this experiment, but it just didn’t work. Even with its short length (69 minutes – how appropriate), I would advise you to ignore your curiosity and either A) watch a concert film, or B) just go all the way with real porn. 9 Songs is an interesting idea in theory, but it just comes across as a half-assed mashup of music and sex.


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