4 (Chetyre) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

4 (Chetyre) Reviews

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½ November 1, 2012
Just when you think it can't get any more boring..

..it gets even more boring. I only managed to sit through the first half of this movie before giving up. And that's rare for me. I can't remember the last movie I gave up on.

The bleak visuals of Russia were interesting. But really, how long does each shot need to be? I was reminded of Kundun (1997) and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1990) in this regard, but at least those movies had a story. If ever there was a movie in desperate need of editing (or better yet, a actual story), it's 4.
November 1, 2012
Not as deranged and knightmarish as I thought, just really impenetrable. Some very nice moments in terms of cinematography, narrative, sound design and mise-en-scene. But really requires concentration and repeated viewings to get anything out of it.I am not sure that its captivating enough to warrant it though.
November 1, 2012
Vision of hell or slice of life? The line is hauntingly blurred here. The future may not be now, but if we're to trust this movie, the post-apocalypse is.
½ November 1, 2012
This may just be one step beyond my level of film watching, but what the hell was this? It started with promise and then descended into the most non-sensical mayhem I've ever watched. Maybe an hour or so of this would be enough to drive a weaker person to turn off and possibly start killing people but I stayed to the credits. Best part were the Antonov planes at the end.
November 1, 2012
As unsettling as it is beautiful. Khrzhanovsky's fresh and uncompromising style draws you in and pushes you away in equal measures. Reaffirms the belief in film as an art form. Stirring stuff.
November 1, 2012
Truth is stranger than fiction. Lie, and you shall believe...
November 1, 2012
curious. culture innit.
½ November 1, 2012
This movie was really good for the first 42 minutes, but after that its pretty much just a disappointing waste of time. it drops a good story and instead just decides to show the loneliness and sadness that a dead-end life brings to many people, but its not even done in an interesting way. it just turns out to be depressing and hard to watch.
½ November 1, 2012
Khrjanovsky, with all his burdgeoning art-school credentials in tow, has some very interesting things to say about contemporary society, in Russia as well as abroad thanks to a broad symbolic pallete, its just a pity its spoken in such an unfocussed and deliberately distancing way. Borderline pretentious conversation, beyond lucid in its coherence, and mildly provocative.
November 1, 2012
Hard to say...slightly disturbing.
½ November 1, 2012
So slow...yet it pulls you in into the savage, isolationist life of some.
½ November 1, 2012
A meat seller, a prostitute, and a piano tuner walk into a bar (this isn't a joke, it's the premise of the movie). As they begin to talk to each other, each makes up an increasingly elaborate story about his or her job. The meat seller claims to work for the government delivering mineral water to the Kremlin, which gives him inside information about Mr. and Mrs. Putin's drinking habits. The prostitute says she's in advertising, currently marketing a Japanese device that emits unnoticeable sound waves that induce blissful happiness in workers. And the piano tuner (played by Sergei Shnurov from Leningrad!) claims to be a geneticist working on a cloning project that began back in Stalin's era (with technology stolen from the Nazis) and he claims there are now countless "doubles" living within Russian society. Their conversation comprises nearly half the film, but it never gets stale or boring, and in fact it becomes exponentially more interesting as it goes on. I've seen people describe this portion of the film as "delightful" and "charming" (usually right before they talk about how much they hated the second half, which I'll get to in a second) and while it is funny and very entertaining, I think it takes on a much sadder, more portentous tone if you start to think about why these people feel they have to make up these stories in the first place.

Once they leave the bar, the film becomes radically different and begins a slow descent into hell as the characters return to the grim realities of their lives. The meat seller goes home and deals with his mentally slipping father who waits on him hand and foot like a butler (or, more symbolically in keeping with the rest of the film, like a dog). The piano tuner goes clubbing and wanders around some desolate Moscow streets until he is apprehended by the police on mysteriously unknown charges. But the vast majority of the film's second half is devoted to the prostitute, as the funeral of a friend (or is it a sister?) brings her back to the impoverished village where she grew up, now populated almost exclusively by old women who spend their days making dolls. In the days spent at the village the film becomes a raucous, hellish nightmare world that many critics have labeled "surreal" and talked about as if it's some sort of Lynchian fantasy. However, that approach seems to me to stem from an unwillingness to believe that this sort of life actually exists this way for many people. Whenever I find comments from Russians about the film, they tend to suggest that it is not fanciful at all, but in fact totally realistic. This became even more convincing when I read that none of the village's population were actors, and in filming the "surreal" drunken party scenes the old women were simply encouraged to let loose, have fun, and try to ignore the camera.

This is a rare instance in which I not only enjoyed reading many of the comments and message boards on IMDb concerning a film, but actually found them rather helpful as well. I thought this was particularly telling:

[After the Seattle 2005 screening during the Q/A session with the director, one Russian woman ranted at him for an act of "treason" in this disturbing portrayal of Russian life, and said it and he were "dirty!", asking him where he lived *now*, he must have been well paid for this, etc. He responded that unlike her he still lived in Russia, that in fact life was *harder* than he portrayed and that Russians drank *more* than he portrayed, etc. After she walked out, he explained that her reaction was typical of the culturally *soviet* people in Russia, who were brought up to always present the best face of Russia at all times.]

As realistic as it may be, it is nevertheless stuffed to the brim with allegory, metaphor, and symbolism. Most strikingly (and expectedly) the number "4" pervades the entire film. Everything comes in groups of fours--tractors, pigs, dolls, airplanes--there is almost nothing in the film that doesn't fit into this scheme somehow (which makes it very intriguing to me that there are only three main characters). Pigs are also a recurring subject, and dogs especially run wild through the entire film. But perhaps even more significant than the omnipresence of 4's is the idea of circularity, especially as it pertains to repetition. Repetition is a major theme of the film; shots are duplicated, many events seem to happen more than once, lines are repeated by the same character to a different set of people.

The overall impression is of people who are caught in an endlessly repeating loop, caught up doing the same meaningless actions day after day in an endlessly decrepit world. There is a bit of hope in the end for one character who tries to break the circle of horror, but at best it's a faint and somewhat doubtful hope in which the most positive message that can possibly be gleaned is, "This is an endless, horrible struggle, but it's not yet a defeat." This seems to be the voice of a young generation of Russia searching for a new system of values in an old world they perceive as bankrupt of hope and morality.
½ November 1, 2012
All in all this was a fascinating movie, and I enjoyed the characters.

I think each of the stories could've been expanded like Mariana's character.

I thought it was going to be a little more nightmarish or frightening, but the old ladies were disturbing enough.
½ November 1, 2012
Very controversial movie. I saw this film at a film festival. People either hated it or thought it was the best thing they had seen. The undercurrent of the movie is potential human cloning gone bad.
Super Reviewer
½ November 1, 2012
dark and disturbing. a lot of great visuals and some pretty fucking weird scenes.
½ November 1, 2012
this has to be one of the strangest films ever made. its harrowing, at times quietly amusing, disgusting and occasionaly almost unwatchable. but ultimately, its one of those films that will probably linger on inside your head for a while after viewing. although the storyline may seem to make exetremely little sense, this perhaps isnt the purpose of the film, and i think there is a lot of underlying ideas going on in the film. the russian tourist board must despise it, cos it makes it look like hell on earth quite a considerable amount of the time. undeniably original.
November 1, 2012
An ambigious film, blurring the line between truth and fiction. The style of filmmaking also seems divided: precise, textbook direction in the first half, and a natural, documentary-like style in the second. The outcome is a subjective dream or nightmare depending on one's tolerance of disturbing imagery.
½ November 1, 2012
Waste of TIME!! Very Weak movie, DO NOT WATCH, if you do end up watching it, side effects may include: Suicide, murder ramapages, road ramapage, any kinds of ways of harming yourself, and many others...
½ November 1, 2012
I thought that I didn't like it, but I haven't stopped thinking about it. There's little plot, but almost every scene is an unforgettable visual story. The scene with the dogs on the street, the scene with the pig, the people eating on the train. I'll be thinking about it for a long time.
½ November 1, 2012
If I could rate this ????? I would! odd indeed.
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