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View All 4 (Chetyre) News
All Critics (27)
| Top Critics (13)
| Fresh (20)
| Rotten (7)
It's another blast of vibrant, vicious, gloomy electricity from the always-surprising Russian film scene, and the beginning of an important career.
This 2004 debut feature by Russian director Ilya Khrzanovsky is puzzling, intriguing, and often compelling, apparently set in the present but magical and futuristic in tone.
The sheer surfeit of ideas in 4's first half hour alone could fuel a dozen warped movies; presented in this kind of rush, they leave you agape.
If your art film tastes lean toward orderliness and tidy metaphors, you could spend the two hours of Russian filmmaker Ilya Khrzhanovsky's fearless and mesmerizing debut feature.
Decidedly not for everyone, 4 is an incomparably unhinged act of disinterment, but it's also a fiercely willed feat of rebirth, raw and bloody and screamingly alive.
The result is a teasing, if trying, exercise.
An unusual but incomprehensible, offensive and tedious sci-fi film that depicts Russia as a place of squalor and its citizens as depressed alcoholics.
Khrzhanovsky's film, written by acclaimed Russian novelist Vladimir Sorokin, looks great but has a shambolic, off-kilter feel that might not be entirely intentional, and is alternately tedious and shocking.
Khrzhanovsky and screenwriter Vladimir Sorokin have both the grim ideas and the little sideways winks in perfect equilibrium in the brilliant first half hour of this strange film. The rest of the film is certainly memorable, if increasingly impenetrable.
Even if its reasoning remains illogical, it amounts to a demonstration of unbridled audacity.
The performances are so good and the images so darkly expressive that Khrzhanovsky's experiment with cinematic deconstructionism nearly works.
A film to experience rather than understand, this bleak blend of Dostoevsky and Peter Greenaway will fascinate those prepared to surrender to its macabre absurdism.
Three Moscow strangers meet at a bar, then we follow what happens to each of them after they leave (in theory, as the story of the prostitute returning to her drunken country village for a funeral takes up far more time than the others). Well shot, well acted, excellent sound design, but this one really shows off the worst flaws of self-conscious art films: it's pretentious, frustratingly obscure, unfocused, and most of all, boring.
[font=Century Gothic]"4" takes place in Moscow where a meat seller, Oleg(Yuri Laguta), a prostitute, Marina(Marina Vouchenko), and a piano-tuner, Vladmir(Sergey Shnurov), all walk into a bar around 3 am. They all lie about their varied professions - Oleg claims to supply drinking water to the government; Marina claims to be in charge of advertising for a mysterious Japanese product and Vladimir claims to be a scientist for a cloning project that goes back at least fifty years. Eventually, after a few drinks, they all part company and go to their respective destinies...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"4" is a strange, haunting movie about identity - about who we are, what we could become and what we wish we were. On a larger scale, it is also concerned with national identity. The movie is very talky in spots but it is fascinating, nonetheless. It does go on a bit too long, though.[/font]
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