4.3.2.1

4 Girls. 3 Days. 2 Cities. 1 Chance. And a hell of a lot of coincidences.

This film has a lot of elements that would irritate me beyond reason:

  1. Garage music dominating the soundtrack,
  2. Needlessly mouthy and over-aggressive girls and boys and,
  3. Pointless excessive scenes of lesbianism and girls in underwear just for the hell of it (I am a po-faced, pretentious serious person and prefer stylised violence).

 Did I hate it?

 I liked it. I liked it purely because it was entertaining. Yes it is derivative and far-fetched and full of clichés but it has genuinely surreal moments, great performances and pop-culture references (Lara Croft really does beat the boys).

I’ve never watched a film by writer-director Noel Clarke before. His films are grim urban parables (Kidulthood, Adulthood) with ghastly urban music soundtracks (the type of aural soundscape that sounds like you’re in a barrel with bricks and metal tools). Apparently his films are good but I’m not the target audience. I’m much more familiar with his role as Mickey in Doctor Who.

4.3.2.1 is much closer to the Doctor than the thugs. It is cheeky beyond belief, very funny, surreal and actually quite likeable.

The plot revolves around a botched jewellery heist that involves four college girls and their circle of friends. The film is told from their individual perspectives over the course of three days and the two cities the film takes place in. For the first half of the film you’ll be guessing where this is going.

The narrative leans heavily towards a film like Go with its fast-paced multiple narratives and boundless energy. Clarke and his co-Director, Mark Davis bring enough energy to drive the film forward pell-mell from the clichés of gritty-urban fare to a surreal, kick-ass fun-fare. There are enough stylistic tricks and snappy editing to keep the attention from wilting.

There are a lot of cameos like Michelle (kicks serious ass in this) Ryan, Noel Clarke (a great performance) the biggest (literally) being Kevin Smith in what might have been painfully unfunny and stereotypical but was actually charming.

The main cast have a St. Trinians vibe about them. Cheeky stereotypes but with dashes of Girl Power:

Cassandra (Tamsin Egerton) – Posh Spice (who spends most of her day in New York in her underwear)

Shannon (Ophelia Lovibond) – Grunge/Goth Spice with all the attendant clichéd emotions

Joanne (Emma Roberts) – Mousy American Spice (the niece of Julia Robert people!)

Kerrys (Shanika Warren-Markland) – Mouthy Ethnic Spice

These girls seem the unlikeliest of friends but the fact that their great performances sold it. I was charmed by the film’s good-nature and humorousness that even the violence and sex is fun. I enjoyed their Girl Power sisterhood and I look forward to the sequel that was signalled at the end.

A very enjoyable film indeed!

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