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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Noel Clarke
Emma Roberts
Tamsin Egerton
Ophelia Lovibond
Shanika Warren Markland
Sean Pertwee
Rosanna Arquette
Ben Miller.
Directors
Mark Davis
Noel Clarke.
Screenwriters
Noel Clarke.
Running Time
117 minutes

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4.3.2.1
Equals 10. Or the new film from Noel Clarke


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Plot
A group of best friends meet for a coffee-shop gossip, only to become embroiled in a cross-continental caper of diamond-smuggling, internet sex and painful secrets. As the tagline has it, 4 Girls, 3 Days, 2 Cities, 1 Chance...


Review
4.3.2.1
Browse more images »
The heist happens off screen. The diamonds sparkle for seconds. 4.3.2.1. is as much about this crime, really, as Citizen Kane is about sledging. Yes, it’s an effective thriller, but slickly sliced and whip-paced as it is, the movie is powered by character, and that’s what makes it work. Co-directing from his own script and co-starring as the nefarious Tee, Noel Clarke provides the same pungent sense of place and people he gave the Kidulthood/Adulthood council-estate combo. His scope is broader, though, mixing nationalities, classes and motivations. Beyond that, this it is a great London movie. One story-strand may take place in the Big Apple, but everything comes home to the Big Smoke — chaotic, glorious, ugly and sweet as it is.

There’s a strong visual evolution from Clarke’s debut as director, which could be down to either his growing confidence or the contribution of co-director Mark Davis (whose droll short, Shakespeare, Tarantino & The Mitchell Brothers is on YouTube). There’s a more disciplined dynamism
here, a sense of greater consideration given to cuts. This is vital given the way the stories of the leads — Cassandra (Tamsin Egerton), Shannon (Ophelia Lovibond), Kerrys (Shanika Warren-Markland), Joanne (Emma Roberts) — unspool separately but interweave. Great friends but contrasting personalities, they each have a unique journey to take. The structure is episodic, and though it’s hard to pick out the strongest sequence — all the leads are convincing, all their stories involving — Warren-Markland’s panic-room/samurai sword/lesbian sex section sticks in the mind.

Beyond titillation, there’s emotion, too. And it’s to Clarke’s credit that while racial and sexual diversity are factors, they are not neon-highlighted: this is about as far from an issue movie as you can get. Simply, each character is looking for acceptance. It’s apt that a convenience store is a key location in a picture that’s about convenience culture – the nu-media’s 24/7 sensory assault, which gives us the means to connect but not necessarily the mindset. In this regard, Lovibond carries 4.3.2.1.’s most obviously heartfelt aspect, but there’s something true to find in all the characters.

The jigsaw structure may frustrate some and Michelle Ryan cameos as a character that’s mysterious to the point of being obtuse in a rather thudding set-up for a sequel. The presence of Kevin Smith also smacks of stunt-casting — except he’s actually rather funny. In a Brit-film landscape strewn with corsets and kitchen sinks, Clarke is a writer/director making credible, popcorn — whisper it — Hollywood entertainment. Whether he lands the gems on screen is for you to discover. But in real life, Clarke has definitely got the goods.


Verdict
Brit hit: a sharp, funny, sexy thriller, with strong performances and soul beneath its shiny surface.


Reviewed by Nev Pierce

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for 4.3.2.1
Empire Star Rating

Awful!!

I watched half of this film last night and it was so bad I turned it off. How this esteemed magazine could give this film 4 stars is beyond incomprehensible. I do have a feeling though that it is down to the magazine itself making a brief appearance in the film. Empire you should be ashamed!! Everything about this film is terrible and a complete waste of time and money. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by PANDAPOP1 at 08:42, 06 December 2012 | Report This Post


What the fuck.........4 stars. ABSOLUTE BALLS ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by naveed at 18:44, 19 June 2011 | Report This Post


engaging movie

dont read what other people are saying about this movie, it's smart sexy and overall entertaining, loose ending though nethertheless this is a good nights entertainment ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jerkyjudas at 08:52, 25 January 2011 | Report This Post


RE: 4.3.2.1

Saw this recently.  It started of well but was let down by a weak script and poor characters.  The acting was ok in this.  The stand out performances being Michelle Ryan (very good in a small part), Alexander Siddig (another small part), Shanika Warren-Markland and Ophelia Lovibond.  The rest of the characters weren't really fleshed out enough IMO. The film was also let down by a weak script.  The four main characters were so cliched, so we had the sassy blac... More

Posted by princessa at 22:38, 30 October 2010 | Report This Post


One of the worst films of the year

I can't believe this movie was given 4 stars. Please try to be even a little bit objective when reviewing. You only gave it 4 stars because it's British. Movie has no redeeming qualities. Not funny. Not sexy. Not a thriller. A total waste of time. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by carlosvonflick at 15:56, 18 October 2010 | Report This Post


RE: 2 hours of my life wasted

Really, really awful. Seems reviewers are sucking up to Noel Clarke. ...   ] ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by robwillphill at 12:11, 15 June 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Non Conventional Episodic Narrative

lol. ... More

Posted by MarcE at 12:55, 08 June 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Non Conventional Episodic Narrative

L: MarcE As for Empire reviews, I never bother with them. They seem to talk about the film during the opening and closing paragraphs, then feel the need to discuss the actors personal issues during the rest of the review. I'll let IMDB and its many reviewers recommend films to me! referring IMDB over Empire? You hear that sound? That's all the reviewers on EO committing suicide. ... More

Posted by Deviation at 21:40, 07 June 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Non Conventional Episodic Narrative

I may go see this having recently seen Kidulthood and Adulthood. As for Empire reviews, I never bother with them. They seem to talk about the film during the opening and closing paragraphs, then feel the need to discuss the actors personal issues during the rest of the review. I'll let IMDB and its many reviewers recommend films to me! ... More

Posted by MarcE at 16:26, 06 June 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Please, Empire can you insert a spoiler alert?

L: jace007 Having not even seen 4-3-2-1, why oh why, do I read your review and ruin it all with a spoiler? In this case, a cameo by Kevin Smith! What next Empire?? Please, bare in mind your readers like to be surprised. in the trailer. He's also the best thing in this movie. Besides. Haven't you learnt by now? Do not read Empire reviews until after you have seen the film. Especially if you don't like spoilers. ... More

Posted by DJ Satan at 01:52, 04 June 2010 | Report This Post


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