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Blu-ray Review: 4.3.2.1

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Imagine a heist movie without a heist. A multifaceted story without the multiple facets. Or, if you really want to sell it: a hip British action/drama that looks like it could have been made by a couple of your average paint-by-number trendy American filmmakers. Either three would describe 4.3.2.1 — a title that absolutely begs your forgiveness, and which also takes you gently by the hand in order to count backwards to the number to which you should raise your expectations in the event you have opted to view this particular motion picture.

In this instance, 4.3.2.1 refers to what the film’s tagline so beautifully describes as “4 Girls, 3 Days, 2 Cities, 1 Chance.” The girls in question — Shanika Warren-Markland, Tamsin Egerton, Ophelia Lovibond, and Emma Roberts — are an assorted grouping of lasses in England ranging from the insecure to the implacable. Over the course of the next three days, these young ladies will each play an important but completely unwanted part in a huge diamond heist — a caper that bridges the Pond and awards the winners with, er, something.

As with all hip British action/dramas, there has to be some method of being artsy for the sake of being artsy. Gone are the days when we could just tell a simple, character-driven story in a linear fashion and rely on honest-to-goodness actors and actresses to relay the tale. No, instead, 4.3.2.1 ups the annoyance factor to 11 by separating the girls at the beginning of the story, only to tell each one’s story over the next three days via four 20-minute(-ish) chapters, returning to the same moment in time that they split in order to move onto the next girl.

By the time I hit the third story, I was ready to start hollering at people. Not that the story was uninteresting, mind you. It had its moments. Alas, not too terribly many. In fact, I can’t even remember what they were now. I recall seeing Mandy Patinkin in a small part. I remember Kevin Smith popping up and making jokes about his weight and his bowel movements. I also recollect recording artist Eve making an appearance. What I do know, though, is that I saw several breasts and asses throughout the entire motion picture — an assortment of skin that surely must have made the entire production possible.

Apart from that, I’m at a loss. Once the final chapter of the movie commenced — wherein all the gals were back together again and right in the thick of it with gangsters who are either responsible for or somehow involved in the aforementioned diamond heist — I found everything to be so clichéd and routine, that I would much rather have gone back to the trendy, bouncy, overly-repeated division moment again. It was like a great, big catch-22.

In short: 4.3.2.1 is one of those movies that is heavy on style, but altogether light on substance. I know I’ve seen better movies before, and I know I’ll come across superior motion pictures again. In the meantime, this’ll pass as slightly below-standard film fodder in my book; an item that is destined to be forgotten in only a matter of months. I’m clearly not the only one who felt that way, though, since it took well over two years for 4.3.2.1 to get released on home video in the U.S. via Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

4.3.2.1 (do you have any idea how much I hate typing that title out?) hits the Ray of Blu in a satisfying 1080p transfer that preserves the film’s 2.35:1 aspect ratio. A good portion of the flick takes place during the night, both in the UK and in the US. You wouldn’t think that would mean anything, but it does here: the UK night has a sleeker look and feel to it than the US one. But both transition to High-Def admirably, with little to no signs of debris of DNR scrubbing. Likewise, the movie’s colors and black levels are solid and robust (a bit on the cool side in some scenes), and the detail is as sharp as can be.

A DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack is at your beck and call here, and the music/sound effects-heavy mix certainly won’t disappoint anyone hoping to hear some noise. Subtitles are provided in English (SDH), French, and Spanish. A very reserved selection of bonus materials — a fairly skimpy behind-the-scenes featurette and a trailer — are also included, though it should be abundantly clear at this point that neither item had the slightest inkling of sweeping me off my feet after having viewed the somewhat-less-than-so-so feature film itself.

If you’re looking for a film to fold some laundry to, I can sincerely recommend 4.3.2.1. Otherwise, rent it for the copious nudity and panty shots. But don’t expect anything else.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.