Tuesday, March 16, 2021

9 Songs - Lilith Likes to Watch



Title: 9 Songs
Year: 2004
Starring: Margo Stilley, Kieran O'Brien
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Synopsis: In London, intense sexual encounters take place between an American college student, named Lisa, and an English scientist, named Matt, between attending rock concerts. - Via IMDB
Why it is Notable: One of the most sexually explicit mainstream films. It showcases actual unsimulated sex between the two lead actors.


"Sometimes when you kiss me, I want to bite you."

I've made mention in other reviews that I have no formal education in film, film critique, or any other art-form. So, I'm fully prepared to admit there's a big chance that I'm simply missing something. In reality, I'm just here because I have thoughts and I want to share them. I also want to elevate exceptional films that might otherwise go un-noticed, and deflate arrogant bullshit that's too puffed up on its own ego.

If you follow my social media, you know that I'm writing a series of novellas that take place in a fictional, Hollywood-type city. Each book deals with a different aspect of fame, and most of it is musically themed. This is why I chose to review 9 Songs. It was thematically relevant to my interests.

Matt, played by Kieran O'Brien, and Lisa, played by Margo Stilley, are lovers in London who spend their time fucking, going to concerts and either arguing or acting ambivalent toward one another. They're unlikable people and they have nothing keeping them together except for sex. Even the concerts they attend, there's nothing special about them. They don't discuss music, or seem to feed off the energy of a live show, or talk with other fans or anything. The bands, the titular nine songs, it's all incidental.

The first sex scene is, I think, trying to be artistic, with use of heavy shadow. Unfortunately the end result is grainy and hard to make out what's going on. There' s a difference between shadow and absolute darkness.

In contrast, there is an incredibly beautiful sex scene that takes place in the kitchen/dining room area. 
Morning light streams in through the window and bathes the couple in gold. It's beautiful and the highlight of the film. She begs for him to come inside her. Remember that.

After some more sex scenes, Matt asks Lisa if they'd ever fuck without a condom. But, I assumed that morning sex was condom-free given the way she was begging him to come inside her. Of course, it's easily hand-waved away but it pulled me out of the film and made me overthink things. That's not why I'm here.

The filming for the concerts is bland and uninspired. As a framing device, the concerts don't work at all. It renders the entire movie choppy and disconnected. There's no meaning or weight given to bands, songs or lyrics. At least, not in a way that's accessible to the average viewer. Most of the songs sounded the exact same to me.

It's not all bad, there was an inspired scene where Matt straps Lisa's hands to the headboard, and blindfolds her. He slowly toys with her, until Lisa begs Matt to fuck her. Lisa has no patience. Savor the moment!

Other than sex, the only time they share tenderness is when Lisa reads to Matt while they're in bed together. This happens twice and it's sweet and feels like an organic couples experience.

Tensions rise between the two after they go to a strip club where Lisa seemed to enjoy the attention of the stripper, and Matt leaves a fit of silent, simmering jealousy. From there, Lisa spends more time with her vibrator than with Matt.
 
Finally, Lisa tells Matt she's returning to the USA for a year. They never see each other again.

Sure, this could be a tale of one intense romance between star-crossed lovers from different worlds, who find connection through a shared love of musical expression. Like a porn version of Guardians of the Galaxy. But the connective tissue is not there at all. This movie is an excuse to get people to fuck on film and call it art, and progressive, and transgressive, and provocative.

That's not a story, that's a sex tape.

Best Moment: The morning kitchen/dining room sex scene.

Worst Moment: The concert scenes. Oh, the irony.

LILITH'S SCORE: 2.5/5 - I waffled between a 2 and a 2.5, but the morning sex scene and the blindfolding bumped it up a little.

Until next time, my voracious voyeurs. I’m Lilith, and I’m always watching.

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