Monday, December 20, 2010


or: Pretty little girls in trouble

One word to sum it up: Jumpy

Given that Emma Roberts has been dabbling in typically young movies for years now, I was interested to see how she would be in a movie that's a bit more mature and maybe worthy of her talents. Unfortunately, while may have promised that, it certainly isn't mature or worthy of her talents. No, it's just a reason for it's predominantly female cast to get their clothes off instead of being the gritty crime thriller it could have been.

While Jo (Emma Roberts) is chained down in a dead end supermarket job, her friends are all out on their own separate adventures: Cassandra (Tamsin Egerton) is jetting off to New York to meet her Internet boyfriend; Kerrys (Shanika Warren-Markland) is on a one woman crusade fighting for female liberation and Shannon (Ophelia Lovibond) is on a one way trip to meet her maker. But a chance encounter with some diamond thieves sends their separate worlds on a collision course with not only each other, but fate itself.

I did actually enjoy this movie. I thought the story logistics were all well in place, and the way it was executed was brilliantly done. The film starts off with a brief introduction to our four leading characters, and then spins off into telling their seperate stories, one by one. Shannon's story was a good place to start, since it was so depressing, but mixed into that were the beginnings off a crime thriller that never quite lifted off after that. Admittedly, by the time it got to the fourth story, which was Jo's, I felt a little tired out by everything that had happened, and I just wanted them to tie up the loose ends as fast as they could and end the movie. That's the problem with these multi plot films...there is always one story (in this case Shannon's) that is better than all the rest, and the other stories usually leave me feeling a little empty because of that. Cassandra's storyline was a little unbelievable but served as a great warning to those with internet 'boyfriends'; Kerrys didn't really have a storyline and was just running around trying to save the world and take a piece out of everyone else; and Jo's storyline, while somewhat interesting (a dodgy dealer at work...most of us can relate to that), was just a tad predictable and shallow.

Of course, being a British film requiring young ladies to pull this movie off, we had to see some up and comers in the lead roles. Emma Roberts, Tamsin Egerton, Shanika Warren-Markland and Ophelia Lovibond are all actresses who have been around a while but haven't had their big break...and they didn't get it here, either. At times their acting wasn't particularly believable, and it often felt like another episode of Eastenders or something. A little more training and I feel like these actresses will be up to it and ready to take on the world. Noel Clarke, who is also the writer and director, stars in this film mainly in the final story, just trying to take over the whole thing. I personally think he did better in the directing part of his job. Using jumpy editing, whirlwind visuals and interesting reveal shots to aid the story was possibly the highlight of this film. However, it's easy to see he is trying to be Tarantino here, and he miserably fails at that.

THE VERDICT: is a fast paced thrill ride bogged down with some boring character stories and a heavy reliance on sex talk to keep things going.



  1. Agreed with everything you said here. Managed to check out 4,3,2,1 a couple of months back as I'd been looking forward to it as an entertaining popcorn movie, and managed to miss out on it's cinema release in June (suprised that you even managed to get a DVD in NZ for it.)

    I wasn't expecting much though, as I think Noel Clarke is very passionate about films and what not (I did enjoy Adulthood - his first directing job -, a little, even if it felt kind of stereotypical to me, compared to the prequel Kidulthood.)

    Funnily enough, Clarke is actually an actor (he has only done two directing jobs so far.) But I think he does have the potential to do something rompy/enjoyable that is good, which he tried to do here, but missed the mark.

    He has mentioned on a number of occassions having been inspired by Pulp Fiction for 4,3,2,1 and other projects, so the Tarantino comparisons, of course, will be there. However, that's not a bad thing really, since you have to start of somewhere. Plus, Tarantino's films are 'odes' to other films and genres, but what Tarantino does is have great dialogue (even if he rips stuff from other films.) Still love the guys movies either way.

    Think Clarke, in a few scenes, tried the quickfiring snappy dialogue (plus, I'm telling you, no one speaks like the characters in 4,3,2,1 in London here - well, a few people - but generally no one does.)

  2. I felt like Noel Clarke just wasn't really cut out to be a director. I haven't seen Adulthood or Kidulthood (doesn't that one have Nicholas Hoult in it?)

    I wouldn't think that anyone would talk like the characters in I think Clarke had something going here, but it just failed to go. And no, he won't be the next Tarantino, and this movie doesn't have anything on Pulp Fiction. A few more tries and he might get there.

  3. It's weird because, I love the way he talks about films, and that he is really passonite about it - and he is the kind of 'rags to riches' story, which sounds so cliché, but he really is. Plus, he may sound cocky sometimes, but I don't find it (too) 'bigging himself up' and irritating, he has made a sturdy career for himself so far.

    Yeah, Kidulthood has Nicholas Hault in - he is not really in it though, he's just a side character that gets a couple of lines here and there.

    I love Pulp Fiction, but Jackie Brown will always be my favourite Tarantino (still have to see Kill Bill 2 and Death Proof though...but I doubt they'll topple Jackie.)

    What I love about Tarantino, is his dialogue - clearly the strongest point to his films, but I accept that scenes like in Taxi Driver where Scorsese is talking to DeNiro in that quick paced, snappy way was the birth of Tarantino. But at least he doesn't try to deny films that have shaped him to the director he is. I like the fact he pays homage to old school genres and what not.


You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.


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