I’ve seen a lot of strange, weird, kinky and pushing the envelope films over the years. I try to seek out the new stuff just to see new cinematic boundaries destroyed and created. Very early in director Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs I realized I was watching the dirtiest, most graphic sex scenes I’d ever seen in a mainstream film. Honestly, I often couldn’t believe what I was seeing take place.
Some might label 9 Songs pornography and I really couldn’t argue with them—it’s that graphic. Winterbottom is a serious English director who has made films such as Welcome to Sarajevo, The Claim, 24 Hour Party People and Code 46 (which I reviewed on CineRobot a few months ago). I gave 9 Songs a chance because of his filmography and I wanted to see if it was as graphic and naughty as I’d read it was. Believe me, it is.
There are really only two things that happen in 9 Songs. The first is showing this couple in their 20s going to see good bands at London’s Brixton Academy (Super Furry Animals, Elbow etc) and the second is showing the same couple having lots of sex, lots and lots of graphic sex with a capital X.
I kept thinking as I watched some of the sex scenes—are these “real” actors? If these were porn actors no biggie as they’ll do just about anything on a camera but “real” actors doing this kind of stuff is hard to believe. Question #2—how in the hell did Winterbottom get these two people to do this stuff on film? I guess these days you’ll find people who’ll do anything thinking it will either launch their careers or that they are making “art.”
9 Songs is a terrible movie. Its whole angle is the REAL sex as there are no characters, there’s a bunch of laughable dialogue between the leads, there’s little chemistry between them even though they are naked all the time and there’s a silly Antarctica element to the story. Good bands though (SFA!) but at even 67 minutes long it feels bloated and too long.
I hardly think of myself as a prude or someone who is easily offended but I don’t see the point. If I want to see people having real sex I’d rent a porno or something. 9 Songs just seems really pretentious, hollow and screams “Look at me!” over and over with its sex scenes when it has nothing else going for it.
But 9 Songs is the new title-holder of the dirtiest mainstream film I’ve ever seen. I guess that’s something, not sure what, but it’s something.