Matt Forney
Spread the Word!

9 Songs: Jerking Off to Jerks

Midway through this abysmal “art” film, Margo Stilley delivers a line that nearly sums up how I feel about this piece of shit:

Sometimes, when you kiss me, I really want to bite you. Not in a nice way; it’s like I want to hurt you. I want to bite your lip really fucking hard and make you bleed.

Spot on, sister. I want to make everyone involved with 9 Songs bleed, or at least give them a black eye.

If you’ve heard about this movie at all, it’s for one reason: the sex scenes. 9 Songs‘ claim to fame is that its sex scenes aren’t simulated; the two leads really were banging it out. And to the movie’s credit, they milk this gimmick until the udders are dry; the main characters perform just about every consenting sex act that isn’t illegal in the Western world, from footjobs to BDSM.

The only thing they forgot to include was a plot.

No, seriously: I thought Vivid was bad, but compared to 9 Songs, that movie is practically the next Blue Velvet. To give you an example of how bereft of creativity this film is, the title “9 Songs” comes from the nine songs performed live by eight indie rock bands during the movie. Gee, don’t burn too many brain cells trying to figure that one out.

The film opens with Matt (Kieran O’Brien), an English climatologist, flying over Antarctica while reminiscing about a relationship he had with the American exchange student Lisa (Stilley). They met at a rock show at Brixton Academy, or at least I think they did; most of the screen time is devoted to watching Black Rebel Motorcycle Club perform, and I don’t recall seeing either one at all during the performance. We then cut to the two of them fucking back in his grimy flat before we return to Matt waxing nostalgic over the deserted Antarctic wastes.

And this all occurs before the five minute mark.

The movie gives us absolutely no motivation to care about these characters and gives us no explanation as to why they’re together, aside from sheer physical attraction. The only thing they have in common is liking rock shows, a perfect excuse for the director to pad the length of this already skimpy (69 minutes) film out with lengthy shots of the Dandy Warhols and Franz Ferdinand performing.

All I can gather about these two lovers’ personalities is that they’re jerks. Not even entertaining jerks; just jerks. O’Brien delivers his lines with a creepy flatness that makes me wonder if he’s autistic. For example, in one of the most surreal scenes I’ve ever seen in a film, he walks in on Lisa masturbating with a Rabbit Habit and just stares at her. This scene takes up just under five minutes, Stilley panting and moaning and thrashing her way to climax and O’Brien gawking at her with an expression of utter boredom on his face. Then he just leaves without saying a word and goes back to chopping celery for dinner.

Is this supposed to be arousing? Touching? All it did was creep me out.


As for Margo Stilley, I wanted to slap her every time she opened her fucking mouth. She’s not unattractive: her thin, boyish body (indeed, there’s a scene in which she asks Matt whether she looks like a boy), chipmunk cheeks and short hair make her look like a less dumpy Lena Dunham. However, when placed in the right light (such as during the scene where O’Brien blindfolds her, ties her to the bed and goes down on her), her oddly overdeveloped bicep muscles make her look trannyish. And her voice is absolutely grating, mainly because she vacillates between the typical snotty, pious lilt that American women have and sounding like a Monty Python dork trying to impersonate an English accent.

And that sums up the movie. O’Brien and Stilley fuck a lot, drink tea afterwards, make small talk on their mundane and uninteresting lives, and go to rock concerts to dance and snort cocaine. They occasionally do something different, like skinny dipping in the freezing waters of the English Channel or getting lap dances at a strip club, but otherwise it’s the same old shit again and again and again. Their relationship peters out for reasons I can’t understand, Lisa goes back to America, and Matt is left to metaphorically fondle himself to his fond memories out in his stinking Antarctic research station.

Jesus Christ, this movie is boring. And I don’t mean “boring” in the feminist/leftist sense as a synonym for “offensive”; it’s just boring. 9 Songs manages to make sex seem as dull and uninteresting as taking a piss. It’s a conceited and lazy film that expects us to be so shocked by the sight of two actors having real sex that we’ll ignore how poorly written and uneventful the rest of it is. Once again, if you’re the kind of asshole who likes “art” films, you’ll like 9 Songs; everyone else should stop fooling themselves and go watch a real porno.

Click here to buy 9 Songs.

Read Next: Six Songs of Me