Writer-director Joshua Sanchez structures his film in a way that ping pongs between two parallel stories. A lot of what happens may seem obvious, but it takes perhaps multiple viewings to fully grasp the nuances. It's not confusing. Sanchez's adaptation is simply subtle and layered, but definitely leaves the audience wanting more. Because the film takes place all in one night, it can be taken mainly as a slice of life, or as brief character studies.
Four focuses on a quad of persons. The first one we see is a college-age boy named June, played by Emory Cohen. June secretly meets up with a 40-something, black man named Joe, played by Wendell Pierce (The Wire and The Michael J. Fox Show). Across town, Joe's teenage daughter, Abigayle, played by Aja Naomi King, is babysitting her troubled mother but sneaks off to spend time with a Latino and aspiring, college basketball player named Dexter, played by E. J. Bonilla. The two couples of June and Joe as well as Abigayle and Dexter hang out all in one night, and discuss various issues as well as their potential relationships with one another.
The title of the movie probably refers to the four times that the number four is referenced in relation to the story. For example, the whole movie is set on the night of July 4th. The character of June says to Joe that his parents named him after the month of June, which is one of 4 months in the calendar with 30 days. June also says that he was supposed to be born in the month of April, which is the actual 4th month of the year. Toward the end, Abigayle says that her mom got sick when she was only 4 years-old.
|Aja Naomi King as Abigayle in "Four"|
There is definitely a tug-of-war that happens within each couple. One person, mainly the instigator, will pull and the other will pull back or often pull away. For example, there's no question that Dexter wants to have intercourse with Abigayle who is certainly interested, thus the rope between them, but everytime Dexter tries to get the ball bouncing with a compliment she puts up a wall to block his shots.
Sanchez eventually builds to each of his couples physically coming together. Yet, their mutual climaxes aren't the movie's climax. For June and Abigayle, the climax occurs in the aftermath of sex when the two have to confront their fears or chief concerns. For June, it's his own internalized homophobia, and feelings of inadequacy. For Abigayle, it's her own intimacy issues from a distant father and mentally checked out mother.
Five Stars out of Five.
Rated R for sexual content, language and brief drug use.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 15 mins.
Available Now on Digital Platforms.
On DVD on January 14, 2014, via Wolfe Video.
Go to: http://www.fourthemovie.com/watch/ for availability.