A strange, fossilised egg gently weeps, but no mythical monkey bursts forth. Instead, the ancient rock is wrapped, Japanese-style, as a thanks to General McArthur, who reversed the ban on whaling during WWII. Cut to a Mikadoesque procession of costumes before the whaling ship casts off – its prey is not a real whale, but a sculptural invention of the director Matthew Barney, formed of shrimp heads and Vaseline. Along the way, the vessel picks up Björk, whose music and cheeky-faced acting briefly enliven the next 180 minutes.
Anyone familiar with Barney’s ‘Cremaster’ series will know not to expect any dialogue or obvious story, but his big budgets again ensure that at least ‘DR9’ wows aesthetically. Yet, the similarity in themes – bodily fluids, functions and transformations – gives it an air of epilogue. As the film gloops its way to a violent but satisfying end in which the lovers slice each other’s legs to fins and swim off, Barney’s muddled meditation on entropy threatens to become just another eco-campaigning metaphor for environmental destruction, whether intentional or not.