In a society that deems a film "restricted to those under the ages of 18" for including more than two utterances of the word "fuck," it's discouraging to see a potentially groundbreaking film like 9 Songs and know that it will immediately be handed an X rating, thus limiting its release. Hailed as the most sexually explicit film in the history of British cinema, 9 Songs is unfortunately not as good as its hype leads you to believe. Winterbottom's more than impressive track record (Code 46, 24 Hour Party People, Jude) is a good reason why this film has a lot of potential, but the experiment falls a little flat in proving its point: that cinematic sex is way too conservative. 9 Songs begins at a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club gig at the Brixton Academy in London, England, where the film's only two characters — Matt and Lisa — first meet and fall for each other. Over the course of the hour-long film (if it was any longer, you'd yawn at the idea of real sex, trust me) there is no real character development or much of anything non-sexual happening at all. This film is an exploration of a sexual relationship, not so much a romance. The controversial sex isn't so much graphic as it is realistic. This isn't the pizza delivery guy ringing the bell of a sex hungry nymphet; this is putting an ordinary couple's sex life on display for a cinematic audience. Where the film will receive its toughest critique is in the fellatio scene that climaxes with an ejaculation. Necessary? Well, yes, that is what often happens when oral sex occurs, so why wouldn't Winterbottom show it? With 9 Songs, he has begun a trend that will hopefully not end here. The problem with this film isn't its explicit nature, it's that there isn't enough going on in between all of the sex. Yes, Franz Ferdinand and Primal Scream do perform live, as well as Super Furry Animals and even Michael Nyman, but including them in a skin flick is just too distracting, especially for this male viewer. Such vices need to be separated in order to receive full attention. (Revolution)