4.3.2.1 (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/06/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 117 mins

Flashy, fast-paced and unashamedly trashy, this is a supremely shallow but no less enjoyable thriller, enlivened by strong performances, snappy editing and a willingness not to take itself too seriously.

What's it all about?
Written and co-directed by Noel Clarke, 4.3.2.1 stars Emma Roberts as London-based American teen Jo, who divides her time between working in a 24-hour supermarket and hanging out with her three unlikely best friends, posh stunner Cassandra (Tamsin Egerton), depressive emo kid Shannon (Ophelia Lovibond) and mouthy, half-Brazilian lesbian Kerrys (Shanika Warren-Markland).

Spread over three days (the tagline explains that the title stands for “4 girls, 3 days, 2 cities, 1 chance”), the film begins with the four girls meeting up and then continually rewinds to that point to tell each of their stories: Shannon is struggling with a family break-up and a personal trauma; Cassandra is flying to New York to lose her virginity to her internet boyfriend; Kerrys's plans to use Cass's place to seduce her new girlfriend go horribly wrong when her knucklehead half-brother follows them there; and Jo clashes with her boss (Noel Clarke) when the supermarket is attacked by armed robbers. Meanwhile, one of the girls accidentally winds up with some stolen diamonds that puts a group of ruthless thieves on their trail.

The Good
The performances are excellent, with Shanika Warren-Markland probably the stand-out as she grabs the lion's share of the best lines and her character has the most fun. There's also strong support from Michelle Ryan (as a mysterious stranger who takes an interest in Shannon), Linzey Cocker (as Jo's sharp-witted half-sister) and Clarke regular Adam Deacon (as one of the thieves) as well as entertaining cameos from the likes of Kevin Smith (as a motor-mouthed plane passenger), Mandy Patinkin and Eve. Clarke keeps things moving nicely, with flashy direction and snappy editing, though his decision to big himself up in the dialogue was probably a step too far.

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is the script - the girls don't really convince as a group of friends and none of the characters have any real depth, while several of the scenes (particularly Cass's New York adventure) feel clunky and contrived.

Worth seeing?
That said, 4.3.2.1 is a fast-paced, entertainingly trashy thriller that proves we can make leave-your-brain-behind popcorn flicks just as well (or as badly) as Hollywood can.

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Content updated: 01/10/2014 17:15

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