Four Minutes (Vier Minuten) Review

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An elderly piano teacher trains a young convict at a women's prison.


There have been many musical-prodigy movies, but few have starred a piano genius who’s also a convicted murderer. Here, a violent-tempered, wounded female prisoner (Herzsprung) with a
talent for the ivories begins a tentative friendship with a lonely old music teacher (Bleibtreu), herself concealing a secret past. The pair bond over lessons, and look as though they might prove each other’s salvation.

The acting from both is excellent, and it’s easy to see why this was Germany’s submission for the Oscars in the year following The Lives Of Others. But the film, ironically, is a little too one-note to reach those heights, never quite escaping its own gloomy subject.

The acting is excellent but it's a little too one-note to escape its gloomy confines.