Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

Australia 2008
Directed by
Fiona Cochrane
114 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Sharon Hurst
3 stars

Four Of A Kind

Synopsis: Gina (Leverine McDonnell) is a tough homicide cop, interviewing the uppity Ann (Louise Siversen) in relation to the murder of her husband’s lover. Gina later visits her psychotherapist, Glenda (Gail Watson) where she remembers something very bad from her own past which she has long suppressed. Glenda has a new, much younger lover, Michael (Ben Steel), but she is lately troubled that he may be cheating on her. So Glenda visits her best friend Susan (Nina Landis) to discuss these fears.

Based on a play, Disclosure, by Helen Collins, Four Of A Kind, despite some reservations, is something a little different from typical Australian film industry fare. Firstly its focus, which is fair and square upon women, all with dire secrets to hide, is a nice change from the perennial and stereotypical “Aussie bloke” we see so much of.  The characters of these women are for the most part interesting and believable (albeit some more than others!)

Most of the actors come from a TV or theatre background, and so faced new challenging in carrying such roles in a feature film. Two stand out for me. Leverine McDonnell brings a good dose of almost masculine “tough cop” to her Gina, but in the scenes where she reveals some serious past secrets she also displays a dramatically different and more emotional side. Gail Watson is also strong as the competent shrink, who despite her self-confidence in the therapy sphere, has many personal doubts in her love life. Nina Landis is competent as the duplicitous Susan, but Louise Siversen, playing the socialite Ann, failed to convince me – she seemed affected and self-conscious in her acting style. Similarly, Felicity Soper as Adele, an academic who was a critical part of Gina’s student life, failed to convince me of her intellectual rigour!

The film focuses perhaps too heavily upon the one-on-one dialogue, especially in the opening, interview scene, which is also shot in a very bright light, giving it an amateurish feel. (It is an effect done much better with Hugo Weaving in The Interview). But when the narrative structure starts to interweave flashbacks to what happened (or what the characters claim happened) a gradual slow-burn develops, making for intriguing watching, as we try to piece together the truth. As each scene leads cleverly to the next, showing the characters in a different role, the threads entwine and add layers to the story, showing us that each character has more in common with each other than one would initially have thought.

Adding another layer (which one may love or feel to be intrusive, or even irrelevant) is a set of four songs by Joe Camilleri, performed as an interlude between “chapters”. Each song is a music clip of he and his band performing, and the lyrics function almost like a Greek choric commentary upon the plot. I personally enjoyed it.

As well as an examination of interpersonal and work relationships, friendships, and self-doubt, Four Of A Kind is also a thriller, and events gather momentum at the end to make for a rather dubious scenario that perhaps leaves us wondering what was the real intent of the writer and filmmaker. Although not without its questionable choices, Fiona Cochrane’s film is worth a look.




Want more about this film?

search youtube  search wikipedia  

Want something different?

random vintage best worst