9 Songs

on July 22, 2005 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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Already notorious for its genuine sex scenes -- the actors actually did everything you see them do on screen -- Michael Winterbottom's "9 Songs" risks being dismissed as a mere porn flick. That would be a mistake, as the explicit scenes in the movie are not there for any prurient or exploitative reasons. They're simply an authentic corollary to the emotional truths of the rest of the film, which depicts the short, passionate relationship of an American girl in London (Margo Stilley) and her British lover (Kieran O'Brien), juxtaposed against performances by hot rock bands like Franz Ferdinand, The Dandy Warhols and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The film's clever conceit is that the intensity of the pair's relations is comparable to the emotional and physical highs of a great musical concert. With a few deft strokes, Winterbottom lays bare the couple's feelings, thoughts and, of course, sex acts, creating an indelible portrait of two young people just getting to know each other before circumstance tears their pairing asunder.

The structurally simple "9 Songs," which runs a suggestive 69 minutes, may not have the layers of Winterbottom's best films, such as "Code 46" and "24 Hour Party People," but it's superbly executed just the same. Starring Margo Stilley and Kieran O'Brien. Directed and written by Michael Winterbottom. Produced by Andrew Eaton. A Tartan release. Drama. Unrated. Running time: 69 min

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