The Nine Muses

"Good"

The Nine Muses Review


More like a cinematic poem or art installation than a movie, this swirly collection of imagery - some new, some found - loosely traces the nine muses from Greek mythology. And it's for adventurous filmgoers only.

There isn't a narrative, although the film is arranged to recount an epic journey using voice-over readings from authors like Homer, Sophocles, Milton, Shakespeare, Beckett and Nietzsche. There are also title-card quotes, songs and music, including some pieces performed in old film clips (such as Leontyne Price singing Motherless Child). Meanwhile we see a collage of old film clips and crisp new footage shot in snowy Alaska featuring silent men in yellow, blue and black parkas that obscure their faces.

The film has a remarkably emotional tone, even though it's difficult to make much sense out of it. While the new footage is beautiful, its links to the other material is rather tenuous. Occasionally there's a clever visual parallel between images. Although who these parka-wearing guys represent is a mystery; they're often immobile, just standing in the middle of nowhere. And there are also glimpses of what looks like a homeless man in a deserted city.

It's sometimes fascinating to see how scenes have been assembled together, as the grainy black and white contrasts strikingly with the sharp new imagery. And many of the old scenes are strongly evocative, as they show scenes of destruction, poverty and a variety of faces that hint at racial themes in post-war Britain (most of the people are black or Asian). Also, as there is a general sense of the journey progressing, including a lot of clips that feature modes of transportation.

Yes, all of this is very beautiful, but there are art films and there are ART films. This one's so high-minded and impenetrable that it begins to lull us to sleep as it goes along. The music sometimes jolts us awake, as do scenes of fires and floods and several fascinating faces. It's the kind of movie that some film critics read a lot into, declaring it a work of genius. And there's no doubt that Akomfrah is a gifted artist who is saying something important.

Watching his film is like staring at a moving painting.



The Nine Muses

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th October 2011

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 5.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: John Akomfrah

Producer: Lina Gopaul, David Lawson

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.