Following on from the success of The Lives of Others and The Counterfeiters, the award winning “Four Minutes” sees wrongfully imprisoned piano prodigy Jenny, a Molotov cocktail of suppressed emotions and uncontrollable rage, locked in a constant battle with those around her. Together with Traude, a professional musician who wants to expose Jenny’s talents at a national competition, the pair develop a volatile teacher-pupil relationship. As the duo plan their intent to make it to the finals, it soon becomes apparent that, once there, Jenny will have only four minutes to prove herself, and no guarantee of freedom afterwards. Starring multiple award winner Hannah Herzsprung (“The Reader”, “The Baader-Meinhof Complex”), “Four Minutes” is a cinema tour de force that combines music, gritty prison drama and powerful performances to winning effect.
2006 – Certificate: 15 – German Film – Rating Details: Strong violence and very strong language. 10 out of 10.
To do most things that people consider important in life, you have to study and then possibly pass some sort of test, exam or interview. In other cases you need to read the instructions or practice, but in the end you’re required to be able to demonstrate a degree of competency before you’re trusted by anyone to do it ‘for real’. Yet for some reason, with one of the most important and challenging things, we expect everyone to just get on with it without demonstrating the slightest level of ability. That’s so stupid. Where’s the logic in that? It’s enough to make Mr. Spock freak out. I’ve mentioned it before, but my journey to work involves walking almost past an infant school, at least close enough for me to run into lots of parents taking their kids there. I don’t expect young kids to ever do anything remotely sensible; in fact it’s in their job description. They live in a world that isn’t quite in phase with grow-ups. However, if fate has put you in change of a young person, you really ought to be trained how to do this important job, as most people clearly don’t have a clue. In fact those that do know are generally too old to have any, which in my opinion is a really bad design error. I’m generally a very tolerant person; yes, really. But one thing that’s been testing me to my limits recently is the almost total inability of parents to wait at traffic lights and not block the entire pavement with hyperactive kids, bags, pushchairs, dogs and other non-essential stuff. Hell, it’s only a short walk to the local school, not a manned mission to Mars. Somehow, they think having control of a young person entitles them to inconvenience the rest of the universe, as if this is some sort of reward for proving their immense virility or fertility. Seriously dudes, we’ve managed to reproduce adequately enough to keep ourselves going since life first evolved on Earth; it’s really not that difficult and it doesn’t reflect on anyone’s worth. What does take skill and deserves admiration is dealing with the consequences, which many clearly fail at on an epic scale. I’m a Pavement Warrior and denying me my right of access is a direct challenge to my entire belief structure. I’m not keen on making kids orphans, but sometimes, someone needs to make a stand. Just today I narrowly avoided a serious incident on an especially narrow bit of pavement, when two young boys came flying out of a terrace house; the sort that has a front garden about 1m deep. A guy coming down ‘The Mountain’ (as I call this particularly steep section of my route to work) had to take evasive action to avoid running into them and nearly swerved into me as a result. Seriously, I was lucky to get out of that in one piece. Then again, what do I know? It was only very recently that I found out that you can’t just take the batteries out of them at night when you go to bed. And now something a whole lot better…
This is a totally awesome movie. One of the best 50 films ever made. It’s German, so unsurprisingly it’s not a comedy. (I guess saying that makes me a racist, unlike Nigel Farage because he’s got a German wife.) However, it is a kick-ass drama and totally absorbing. Slow, dark and smouldering, it just blew me away. I have a soft spot for movies about mavericks, rebels and people who don’t play the game properly. In particular the ones that do it for no other reason than to piss the world off and who’re willing to take themselves down along with everyone else rather than change. (I like to think that I’m a bit like that, except in reality I’m probably the world’s biggest ‘yes man’ and enjoy nothing better than asking “how high?” when someone tells me to jump.) Cutting off your whole head to spite your face. Our hero Jenny isn’t quite as nihilistic as that, but she comes close. The Four Minutes of the title refers to a scene near the end of the movie. One of the best bits of cinema ever; you could never play it loud enough. It’s not a perfect film for a range of minor but noticeable reasons, but I’m willing to overlook it small faults and consider the bigger picture. An essential watch.
This is a movie about someone who plays the piano and as such without a suitable soundtrack to support the story, it would fail miserably. Fortunately it’s a great mixture of original and (mainly) classical, (mainly) German composed music. There’s an interesting article on the official website about how hard it was to find a composer for the original music used.
I think this trailer lightens the mood of the film slightly and misrepresents the relationship between the two main characters, so it’s a bit disappointing. It really doesn’t portray the power or mood of the film well.
Movie Weather Forecast. Cloudy and cool. Stay indoors is my advice.
Recommended for pianists, lesbians, nurses, prison wardens, Nazis, abusive parents and rebels.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? The four minutes that give this film its title are as badass as it comes. The closest you can get to sticking two fingers up to the world without saying a word; a great bit of punk and not a guitar in sight.
I wrote about this film here in 2010. This is what I had to say then.
Six strangers awaken from their daily lives to find themselves trapped in a surreal prison – a seemingly endless maze of interlocking cubical chambers armed with lethal booby traps. None of these people knows why or how they were imprisoned… But it soon emerges that each of them has a skill that could contribute to their escape. Who created this diabolical maze, and why? There are unanswered questions on every side, whilst personality conflicts and struggles for power emerge as the tension rises. But one thing is crystal clear; unless they can learn to co-operate to work out the secrets of this deadly trap, none of them has very long to live…
1997 – Certificate: 15 – Canada
Rating Details: Language, occasional, strong; violence, infrequent, strong, horror; other, horror, science fiction.
I tend to buy a few books for myself around Christmas. I think I do this because I have a bit more time then and when I’ve got time I start to think how nice it would be to read a book. So off I trotted (electronically) to Amazon. I decided to buy a couple of Star Trek novels. For various dull reasons, the first one I selected was called “Homecoming”. £200.68 new! £200.68!! For that price I’d expect it to come with a full-sized, fully operational Star Trek spaceship, including crew. Is there suddenly a world shortage of letters? Are the Chinese restricting exports of full stops, thus leading to frantic trading in alternative punctuation marks on global stock markets? Have the Americans finally realised that they can’t spell and bought up the entire world output of letter Us for the next five years, in an effort to correct all those misspelt references to colour? So anyway, I’ve ended up buying myself a Kindle, the cheapest one, which costs £69. I can now buy the book for £4.99. I am suffering a bit of a guilt trip though. I feel like I should be castigating Amazon for its over-effective use of British tax laws and in fact be refusing to buy anything from it in line with the recently announced boycott. Then there’s also the fact that I’ve effectively allowed myself to be locked into its proprietary file format and e-book system for the rest of my life. However, there’s a certain thrill in the idea that the first book I read on it will be a Star Trek one, a franchise that frequently depicts characters reading from a small pad that with hindsight looks suspiciously like a Kindle. As for the other issue, if you’re going to lock yourself into a sweet factory, it may as well be in Willy Wonka’s. This film also features people who’re locked in somewhere, but there’s not a lot of chocolate around, or books, e or otherwise.
I simultaneously love and hate this film. It’s a great and stylish horror/sci-fi thriller, with an unusual and suitably disturbing and clever storyline. I also like how by using only seven people and virtually just a single, small set, it manages to be such a good movie. It creates a tense atmosphere by making great use of sound and the claustrophobic set-up; the traps are ‘nicely’ presented too. Sadly, the characters in it lack any semblance of common sense, so they seem unbelievably stupid, despite their unique talents. There’s not a great deal of emotional intelligence on show, or indeed any sort of togetherness. I’ve seen more communication between passengers on the London Underground in the rush hour than this lot managed, such was their inability to interact meaningfully in a ‘mission-critical’ way. The way they develop and change during the film also stretches their credibility to pretty ridiculous levels. At first, they seemed like a group of people under a lot of pressure, which does tend to make individuals do some strange things, but then I found myself thinking, “what the fuck”? What sort of morons are these people? Why don’t they just work things out together like everyone else would? Haven’t any of them watched “The Poseidon Adventure”? The cliché of groups of people in films who’re trapped together and then not getting on, is getting to be as bad as the one involving groups’ of young people going to remote places for a ‘good time’ and then meeting a grizzly end. Their over or under reaction to different situations just seemed to have been determined by the writers throwing a dice. 6? Oh dear, you’re going to freak out. 1? That’s cool, you’ll barely notice what’s going on, you’re so laid back about it. It’s not that the acting is especially poor, it’s more the script that’s at fault. One plus point is that it’s got Nicole De Boer in it, the world’s third most beautiful woman, although she’s not looking her best, but I can forgive her for that given the circumstances. Nicole De Boer is of course, Lieutenant Ezri Dax from Star Trek Deep Space Nine. However, despite its shortcomings, Cube still manages to be a really good film. Weird eh?
Recommended for fans of clever sci-fi, who won’t let a few hot-headed characters spoil their geeky fun.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations. However, two heads do get well and truly mangled.
Top badass moment? Given the uniformly un-cooperative, combative and plainly stupid behaviour of most of the characters most of the time, the top badass moments have to be whenever the Cube does something that pisses one of them off, or worse. It’s a sad day when you end up having to cheer for the mechanical baddie. If our ancestors conducted themselves in the same way, we’d still all be living in caves and bashing one another over the head with clubs. Get some anger management people, for goodness sake.