Four Minutes

2007

Four Minutes (2007)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: This riveting German drama set in a women's prison has the strong foundation of a solid script and psychologically resonant performances across the board.

AUDIENCE SCORE


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Movie Info

An embittered, 80-year-old piano teacher working in a women's prison takes on the most challenging student in her enduring career in director Chris Kraus' low-key musical drama. For years, Miss Krueger (Monica Bleibtreu) has been teaching classical piano to some of the most hardened female prisoners in all of Germany, but upon meeting brooding new inmate Jenny (Hannah Herzsprung), Miss Krueger finally seems to have found the one student she can't break through to -- until she hears Jenny play, that is. A former piano prodigy whose abusive childhood prompted her to neglect her natural gift for music in the name of survival, Jenny is a violent offender whose notorious temper has, as an adult, repeatedly landed her behind bars. Though she does still display considerable talent on the ivory, her decidedly antisocial behavior compelled the troubled prisoner to repeatedly sabotage opportunities to take part in recitals that would, at the very least, provide a momentary respite from her grim day-to-day existence. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Cast

Monica Bleibtreu
as Traude Kruger
Hannah Herzsprung
as Jenny von Loeben
Richy Müller
as Kowalski
Richy Mueller
as Kowalski
Stefan Kurt
as Warden Meyerbeer
Vadim Glowna
as Gerhard von Loeben
Nadja Uhl
as Nadine Hoffman
Peter Davor
as Journalist Wahrig
Edita Malovcic
as Young Traude
Christian Koerner
as SS-Sturmbannfuhrer
Amber Bongard
as Clara Mutze
Dieter Moor
as TV Moderator
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Critic Reviews for Four Minutes

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (8)

So relentlessly oppressive it suffocates its potentially strong themes and characterizations.

Apr 25, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

It's part Jerry Lee Lewis and part Glenn Gould.

Apr 18, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

A women-behind-bars plot seething with lesbianism, incest, hanging and catfights -- on paper, at least, Four Minutes promises more fun than a Roger Corman marathon.

Apr 18, 2008 | Rating: 3/5

Pitched at deafening hysteria, Chris Kraus's film might have fared better in moderato.

Apr 17, 2008 | Rating: 2/6

Four Minutes is simply not to be missed.

Apr 16, 2008
Observer
Top Critic

Although the tone of the film drifts precariously toward the self-serious, writer/director Chris Kraus redeems himself with snatches of dark jailhouse humor and a quiet attentiveness to minute gradations of human feeling.

Apr 16, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Four Minutes

½

The next German film sensation after The Lives of Others Touching The story of how a piano teacher has her life changed and changes the life of her student through music. An amazing story, touching, very deep, and emotional turn out great, one of the best german movies ive seen so far. The acting is amazing, the lead actresses incorporate strong characters with strong personality that emits and touches the audience strongly. The directing is fantastic. However there are some scenes and things behind the movie that are very symbolic and therefore hard to understand, but nevertheless its a very touching movie. Jenny Von Loben : Sorry

Pedro  Holanda
Pedro Holanda

Super Reviewer

A little slow at times, but all in all a really good movie. The girl the movie is based around is really psychotic, but amazingly talented. I feel so sorry for her in the way that her life turned out. This movie had a really awesome ending. I felt like standing up and cheering for her myself

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

½

Vier Minuten was a powerful German movie, the story of two women who had nothing in common but their passion for music. The beginning was quite confusing, but provocative and after ten minutes, the story became interesting with the development of the characters, supported by magnificent performances and wonderful cinematography. There were some sub plots concerning their past, but it was more about these two characters coming from different generations and backgrounds,and how the both of them benefit from their experience.The movie had some excellent pieces of classical music. A must to see.

Daisy  Maduro
Daisy Maduro

Super Reviewer

½

In "Four Minutes," Traude(Monica Bleibtreu) volunteers her services as a piano teacher at the same prison where she worked as a nurse during World War II. Despite the warden's(Stefan Kurt) help, there is little promise in the inmates who show up for lessons except for Jenny(Hannah Herzsprung), a one-time prodigy who was sexually abused by her adoptive father. However, Traude wants nothing to do with her due to her sore arms. As a result, Jenny flies into a fit of rage, knocking a guard(Sven Pippig) unconscious. Traude has second thoughts, deciding to give Jenny lessons but only if she plays by her rules. In return, Jenny gets to prove that she can play the piano with one arm tied behind her back. Wait, make that two... "Four Minutes" is an engaging drama about why it is never a good idea to force somebody to fit to your expectations, even if you think it is for their own good. The movie succeeds by restraint, instead of drowning in sentimentality, even with a contest on the horizon. Part of this comes from having two lead characters who are not in the least huggable and are both afraid of letting down barriers. With her imperious manner, Traude lives in the past, both through remembrance and the classical music she favors, using a derogatory term for the rock music Jenny likes. In return, Jenny is constantly fighting for the kind of life she wants to lead. Due to the conflict against outside forces, she has a way of lashing out which is not socially acceptable.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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