4.3.2.1 review

A niftily made Brit crime tale that has four sexy girls as the protagonists instead of lowlife geezer gunmen. Noel Clarke's script defies credibility though and has some embarrassing dialogue but all credit to him for delivering an unashamedly commercial movie with big ambition. 4.3.2.1 is a film that makes you feel guilty for liking it. It has flaws but overall it works and is highly entertaining.

And my, Noel certainly has an eye for good looking women. We see them in their underwear and two of the girls indulge in the odd naked sex scene. Frankly, what's not to like?

They're first seen together having a friendly banter at a fast food joint at Westfield shopping centre in London. Some guys there are involved in a dodgy deal involving stolen diamonds from Antwerp and bump into the foursome as they're leaving the premises. These diamonds are a running subplot as the girls' respective storylines are then played out.

Shannon (Lovibond) is desperately unhappy and needs someone to talk to. Her parents have just split up and her mother has written her a note explaining her actions which is inadvertantly snatched from her handbag. The villains, including uber-fighting expert Michelle Ryan, are convinced the poor girl has the diamonds and give chase to her. Leggy blonde Cassandra (Egerton) flies over to New York in the hope of acquiring a place at a prestigious music school but is waylaid by her pervert internet pal who's apartment is a shrine to her. She loses her virginity to an imposter in her hotel room and finds out that her life has been secretly filmed via hidden webcams. While in the Big Apple she also manages to storn into the home of the Music Head (Patinkin), pound out a few impressive bars on his piano and is then immediately offered a place at the school. As I said, realism is hardly this effort's strong point.

Meanwhile, lesbian party girl Kerrys (Warren-Markland) steals the keys to Cassandra's posh and modern flat so she and her lover can have some private sapphic time together. They discover a panic room in the basement and are subsequently locked in by her nasty half brother (Chillin) who throws a shindig in the funky abode. He is also a go-between involved in the diamond heist subterfuge. Lastly, American Joanne (Roberts) is put upon and irritated at having to work nights at a local 24-hour store. But her manager (Clarke) is another point person regarding the stolen gems and is involved in a hold up at the store when trying to track the precious stones down. Little does he know that vulnerable Shannon has them.

It doesn't all make sense but praise is due the directors for shepherding the large cast and making sure things don't get too out of hand. The various storylines interweave at junctions in a Tarantino-esque way and the shaky camerawork is constantly on the move. The four leads imbue their tales with brio and energy and Clarke is a convincing baddie in the final section, underplaying his thuggishness with conviction. Not all the casting works though - Kevin Smith of all people contributes a desperately unfunny cameo as a passenger on Egerton's plane, overdoing the fat guy shtick in a vulgar, self indulgent turn.

This is a young person's movie – vibrant, confident and in-your-face and, despite the mis-steps, it's a ride well worth taking. Very enjoyable. 

Official Site
4.3.2.1 at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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