Monday, October 01, 2007

Nine Songs

The verdict: Sex, drugs and rock and roll... but it's stultifyingly boring.

The rating: 3/10

I haven't seen many of Michael Winterbottom's movies, bar the two featuring Steve Coogan ('Tristram Shandy' and '24 Hour Party People'), but he is certainly eclectic, and something of an enigma. Considering I enjoyed both movies just mentioned, and given that his new one ('A Mighty Heart') is getting great press, I thought it only fair to take a look at what many reckon to be his worst movie: 'Nine Songs'. (I only watched it for the articles though.)

Nine Songs features a number of popular rock bands playing live, as Winterbottom was granted permission to commit shows from groups such as Primal Scream and Super Furry Animals to celluloid. The plot of the movie (for what it is) centres around the rather dull Matt (incongruously, Kieran O'Brien from the 'Goal' movies!) and the fairly annoying Lisa (Margot Stilley) as they attend some concerts, and have sex afterwards.

Now, this was a controversial movie on it's release, because it features nookie, and lots of it. Yes siree, the two stars of this one certainly got to know each others ins and outs. Ahem. Uglies are bumped pretty much every five minutes in this one, and we see all the bits and pieces normal mainstream movies leave out. Put it this way, if it was an ad for shower gel, we'd see the nipple. In this case, Winterbottom shows us everything you'd expect from a porn movie, although - and this may sound facetious, but it's true - Nine Songs is relatively lacking in character development and believable dialogue. The two main characters begin shagging in this one after just a couple of lines of narrated dialogue, which is pretty impressive, even by porn standards, and at the end of the movie, we hardly know them any better.

This movie gets old pretty fast. The sex scenes become dull and invasive very early on, as we learn little or nothing about this monster with two backs that's huffing and puffing on the screen in front of us. The story is wafer thin, and appears to have been cobbled together with a voiceover and some creative editing. The two main characters are as anonymous at the end of the movie as they were in the beginning, and the ending of the movie is perfunctory and unemotional.

Winterbottom filmed this in the Paul Greengrass 'shaky hand-held' style, but where Greengrass creates immediacy and brings the audience closer to the events on-screen, in nine songs, Winterbottom creates an amateurish, home-movie feel, which makes thing all the more uncomfortable and stifling to watch. Even the concert footage is emotionless and distant, failing to capture any of the excitement of being at any of the gigs featured. I can't imagine the Super Furries or Elbow were too happy with this finished movie after lending their music to it.

An unmitigated failure in my book, the only plus point being the sixty six minute running time. Only that I was watching it at home, I would have walked out. God bless Michael Winterbottom for coming back from this to make 'A Mighty Heart', and this tosh still won't prevent me from seeing that one. But take it from me folks, 'Nine Songs' is rubbish, and more of a cock and bull story than Tristram Shandy. Avoid.


1 comment:

mitten said...

That's to bad this one was a letdown. I was actually going to see it but I might pass. good review

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