Love, sex, jealousy, control and revenge are the order of the day in John Langridge’s new movie “Four”. The movie sells itself with the tagline “There is no such thing as a simple plan“. Once you’ve watched it, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there is no such thing as a simple storyline. It starts with a straightforward, slightly Brit-gangster premise. Man hires detective to kidnap and rough up his wife’s lover, putting the fear of god into him. Thanks to some cleverly balanced humour from writer Paul Chronnell, including an amusing section where torture gives way to a slightly incongruous discussion on film analogies, we realise that there is a hapless element in our perpetrators plans and it soon becomes clear that they are vulnerable victims of their own desire to control.
There appears to be two clear parts to this film, almost like an Act 1 and Act 2. The first half establishes the characters motives. The second half seems almost designed to exploit any preconceptions you may have made, taking unexpected twists and turns and leaving you glued to the unfolding predicament of all involved, in what is a terrific story.
Sean Pertwee is a national asset and blossoms in drama such as this. His character (Detective), whilst candidly mischievous is also the right blend of enigmatic and menacing. His distinctive voice and presence on screen is masterly as it is compelling. Martin Compston (Lover) transforms excellently between two opposite sizes of his character, a helpless then indignant victim. Hell hath no fury like Kierston Wareing’s “Wife”. But Craig Conway’s performance as the Husband will be the most memorable. Confused, castrated and blinkered; the decrepit remains of the factory that surrounds him is a fitting metaphor to his circumstances both at the start and at the end of the movie.
I suppose this story could easily have been a stage play, but the film has successfully rendered it its own. Oddly enough this has been achieved in no small part to Langridge’s theatrical direction and blocking, which manages to utilise a basic space very imaginatively. Mix with that some great cinematography, a neatly paced edit and chilling soundtrack from composer/producer Raiomond Mirza and I guarantee you will require time in your seat at the end of the film to recuperate before leaving the cinema. It’ll be as if you need to regain “control”. Fab.
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