A husband (Craig Conway) pays a detective (Sean Pertwee) to bring his wife (Kierston Wareing) and her lover (Martin Compston) to an abandoned warehouse so that he can torment them, punish them and extract the truth from them. Inevitably, all is not as it seems and a number of power-plays develop as the truth is gradually unveiled.
Mention is often made of films feeling stage-bound, theatre pieces that belong on the stage instead of the small or big screens. This is undoubtedly such a film – four principals, one set, lots of talking. Well, lots of sweary shouting. The husband seems altogether unsure of his objectives, wanting confessions and/or revenge, but lacking the gumption to see through the very worst of his impulses. The detective seems the most decisive, the most “together”, but the script has plenty of to and fro to offer as it works towards its satisfying denouement.
The brief running time is welcome, helping as it does to keep the story moving along. There is little here plot-wise beyond a series of conversations connected by some wandering around the admittedly atmospheric warehouse, so 80-odd minutes is about all any of us can put up with. The developing power-struggles are convincing enough and although the conversations occasionally lapse into “I’m really shouting and swearing so that you can see how I mean business”, for the most part we believe these characters, even with very little back-story to engage with.
Sean Pertwee has been around long enough for us to expect him to be up to scratch, but the others, established as they are in their acting careers, won’t be so well known to audiences. They all acquit themselves well and as much as anything else, director John Langridge should be commended for creating something worthwhile and engaging on clearly meagre resources. In some ways, this is an object lesson in what to do if you haven’t much of a budget – keep it simple, do little but do it well, work with what you’ve got.
If there is to be a criticism, it would be that lots and lots and lots (and lots) of swearing isn’t clever and doesn’t make anyone involved seem more menacing or angry. Toning the language down would not have detracted from anything and would have perhaps made it a little easier for those such as myself with delicate ears to plug into the characters and their conversations a little more. On the whole though, not bad.
You can catch Four on DVD to rent now, or stream it across YouTube here.