Posted May 26, 2011 by Marcia Degia - Publisher in DVD/Blu-ray
 
 

4.3.2.1


Noel Clarke has come a long way from his sidekick days in
BBC’s Doctor Who. Playing Mickey, boyfriend to Billie Piper’s Rose in
the hit show, may have helped him to become a household face, but it has
not done justice to Clarke’s talents as a filmmaker. After writing the
critically acclaimed Kidulthood, and following it up with directing the sequel, Adulthood, Clarke was given the Rising Star Award at the 2009 Baftas, and now his latest movie, 4.3.2.1 shows that he was more than worthy of the commendation.

So called because it tells the story of “4 girls, 3 days, 2 cities and 1 chance”,
the film follows the intricately woven plot lines of four best friends,
as they find themselves involved in a major diamond heist. Jo (Roberts) is stuck in a dead-end supermarket job, Cassandra (Egerton) flies to New York to meet her internet boyfriend, Kerrys (Warren-Markland) is on a one-woman crusade fighting for female liberation and Shannon (Lovibond)
finds herself increasingly isolated and suicidal. Each of the girls
plays a part in the recovery of some stolen diamonds and their separate
worlds are set on a collision course, as each individual’s story leads
towards the same gripping climax.

After the gritty dramas of Kidulthood and its sequel, Clarke is
attempting a different direction with this slick, sexy thriller and he
handles the genre with expert attention. The intertwining strands of
story that play off each other, combined with the glossy, fast-paced
action, makes this film play like a British answer to 1999’s Go, starring Katie Holmes. More importantly, however, this fun and exhilarating movie has a surprising Hollywood look and feel to it – a trait that is rarely seen in films made in the UK.

This is mostly thanks to the direction, shared by Clarke and frequent collaborator Mark Davis,
which works towards giving the film a stylish polish and swift editing
helps to drive the momentum and keep the adrenaline pumping. That is not
to say, however, that the film is all surface and no substance – at the heart of Clarke’s sharp script is Shannon’s descent into a spiral of depression, which anchors the four stories
and provides weight to the friendship that the girls share. Scenes
depicting her misery and despair are handled with sensitivity, allowing
for the occasional tender moment, much needed in a film otherwise
fraught with thrills and danger.

The girls themselves are all likeable characters, each providing a
different personality trait to their group dynamic without ever seeming
like simplistic stereotypes. Promotion for the film will no doubt focus
on the obvious sex appeal of its four leads, but the characters themselves are smart and sassy, with the story elegantly exploring the theme of female empowerment.
While there are scenes in which both Cassandra and Kerrys appear
scantily clad, the sex factor never seems gratuitous – even a spicy
lesbian love scene is erotically-charged without being explicit.

Familiar faces pop up from time to time, including comic actor Ben Miller, singer Eve, Michelle Ryan
and Noel Clarke himself, as criminal novice Tee. The most welcome
appearance, however, is a cameo by American writer/director/actor Kevin Smith who, as Cassandra’s foul-mouthed, over-friendly fellow plane passenger, provides the film’s biggest laughs.

Overall, it is a remarkable effort from someone emerging from under
the ‘Rising Star’ label to prove himself as a filmmaker worthy of
respect. Noel Clarke no doubt has a bright future ahead of him as a writer and director,
but for now this hugely entertaining and exhilarating movie is
testament that, despite the pressure of living up to last year’s Bafta
award win, he still knows how to have a good time.


Marcia Degia - Publisher

 
Marcia Degia has worked in the media industry for more than 10 years. She was previously Acting Managing Editor of Homes and Gardens magazine, Publishing Editor at Macmillan Publishers and Editor of Pride Magazine. Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Screenwriting, has also been involved in many broadcast projects. Among other things, she was the devisor of the documentary series Secret Suburbia for Living TV.