Drawing Restraint 9

Director: Matthew Barney
Year Released: 2005
Rating: 2.5

Another opaque visual experiment by Barney features him and real-life wife Björk aboard a Japanese whaling vessel - the picture combines various elements of his past work (the field emblem, Vaseline) as well as components of Japanese culture and, of course, a fascination with all aspects of 'ritual.' Like the magnificent Cremaster Cycle it's difficult to rate this as a "film" - true, it borrows the cinematic form, but it's essentially an art piece and doesn't have to adhere to standard 'plotting' or character development. To me, this is not as successful as the labyrinthine Cremaster series and certainly not as intellectually stimulating: sure, turning marital consummation into an act of flaying and consuming each other's flesh is a strangely appropriate visual metaphor, but much of this just strikes me as a lot of esoteric cleverness. The soundtrack - part of it by Björk - doesn't go well with the visuals (though I admit to finding much of Björk's oeuvre to be odious).