4.3.2.1 – British Film

4 Girls, 3 Days, 2 Cities and 1 chance.... that’s the tag line of this unassuming little British film Directed by Noel Clarke, probably best known for his role in Kidulthood or its sequel Adulthood. This film follows the story of 4 girls over a period of 3 days. The story is split up through these four characters and we as the audience see four different stories told over the period of three days, each story is linked to another and events that don't make sense in the first story are brought to life in the third, so on and so forth. The story is centred primarily around the character of Shannon (Ophelia Lovibond) who is in a state of depression after presumably being forced to give up her baby by her over powering parents, although this is not elaborated on very much within the film with only one scene being dedicated to what appears to be the cause for the entire film. The other significant plot line that appears within this film is a jewellery heist and when these two stories cross paths we get the events that occur in 4.3.2.1. So what about the film itself? Well I will start with the positives. 4.3.2.1 features some very good camera work and cinematography for what is only Noel Clarke's second film as a director (it's useful to mention at this point that Noel Clarke is primarily an actor and stars in this film, Adulthood (2008) was his directorial debut) The fast pace of the film is maintained through a variety of interesting shots and inspired editing and the film contains some interesting camera shots and movements which give the film a unique look all of its own. When you watch this film you will definitely notice the somewhat original style it adopts. The acting is subpar from most of the characters; any stand out performances in the film would have to be given to minor characters, Noel Clarke in particular. I am not a great fan of Noel Clarke but after 90 minutes of substandard acting he was a welcome breath of fresh air. Finally the films score was nothing memorable, simply an assortment of British rap songs and clubbing music. Now on to the poorer parts of the film. The narrative structure of the film is something that needs to be addressed, because whilst it is something different and a good concept, it is also poorly executed. Here's why; we have all four of our characters stories, we see one story, rewind and then see the next. That's all well and good but the crossover between each story and what links them and brings the characters together is where the film has the opportunity to be great and become a British version of Crash (2004). Unfortunately it does not execute the crossovers very well, in fact in some cases the cross overs between stories will consist of seeing another character out of the window of a car or blanking a character as they walk past each other. The interconnected stories are also let down by the fact that the characters already know each other, you may argue that this is why the crossovers are so minimal, but the fact that they know each other makes a lot of the film pointless and especially the way it is told. The film takes two hours to tell a 90 minute story because of the way it is told, a simple linear narrative would have taken nothing away from the plot. It is because of this that the plot becomes less significant, by the end of the film you do not care what is going to happen because you already know from the cross overs and the fact that the first scene is also the last. The way the story is told takes over the content of the film and what is actually being told and this is where the film is ruined. As I have already mentioned the acting is subpar consistently throughout the film and this is perhaps what leads to the other major down fall of the film. The characters are not likable, at all. The 4 characters consist of the depressed girl, the over confident lesbian, the rich virgin and the unappreciated American... it may be the bad acting or the bad writing but these characters do not make you want to care about them, they are the sort of people you don’t want to walk on the same side of the street as or sit next to on the bus. There is maybe one point in the film where you care for each character and that is decimated in the next scene where any emotion you felt is smashed by their unlikable personalities. So, in conclusion the film is well directed and shot but that’s about it. Acting is poor throughout and the plot leaves a lot to be desired. Characters and un-relatable and easy to dislike. The interesting mode of telling the story does make up for some of the short comings but what it does have going for it, has been done better before. Overall I give the film a 1 out of 5, the film is worth seeing just to add it to your collection but if you don’t have the time, see Crash instead, it's the same thing, just done better.

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