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'9 Songs': Stuck on Repeat

By Desson Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 11, 2005

It goes something like this.

A British glaciologist named Matt (Kieran O'Brien) meets an American woman, Lisa (Margo Stilley), at a concert in London. They watch the show. Then they go to his house, and they have sex. Then, days later or something, they go to another concert (seemingly filmed in the same location and seemingly on the same night), and they have more sex. And then, it's time for another concert. And more sex. Want to know how many more times this happens? Look at the title.

Never did sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll seem more shopworn and routine. It's enough to make you put in extra hours at the office.

Director Michael Winterbottom, who has made some powerful films (such as "In This World" and "24 Hour Party People"), seems to have no interesting reason to have made this movie. A few aerial shots of the Antarctic as Matt flies over are nothing but arty window dressing for the bed bouncing that follows. The conversations between our enthusiastic lovers amount to banality. And speaking of hollow reflection, you have to wonder what went on in Winterbottom's head as he "wrote" the script. How about doing this scene in the bathtub? And I reckon we could throw in a little bondage for the other one. Hmm, we could have them do it in the kitchen, too.

Oh, the profound questions that artists grapple with every day.

9 Songs (Unrated, 67 minutes) -- Contains graphic sex, obscenity and drug use. At Landmark's E Street Cinema.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company