This is a post that is a repurposing of an old-school Mini-Review Round-Up post. As stated here I am essentially done with running multi-film review posts. Each film deserves its own review. Therefore I will repost, and at times add to, old reviews periodically. Enjoy!
Rather than be a broken record and say yet again, like some truism that must be inherently understood and not questioned, that when I say I dislike comparative analysis in reviews, I say it because it runs the risk of making a review about pitting one film against another. If there’s one thing I believe firmly is that each and every film must be judged solely on its own merits. Meaning it’s judged on how well it creates its world, exercises its dramatic questions, builds its conflicts and so and so forth. Each film, no matter how similar it may be to another, has its own goals and desires.
Having said that we’re all human and recognize patterns and themes, and that can be helpful, useful, educational and fun. So when I started watching 4Some immediately Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice came to mind. The difference of time and place is obvious, but aside from inherent philosophical and aesthetic differences between America of the 70s and the Czech Republic of today there is a lighter approach to this version. I’d say the acting in this film rivals the brilliant foursome of that one, though the prior film treated its subject heavier. Though there are clear implications, conflicts and issues created by the unusual arrangement the couples find, they try to take it in stride and the situations are mostly comical. The marriages deal more in malaise rather than suppressed emotion; so what boils over is more humorous and less combustible. Rather than the dull squalor the couples experienced, their romances come alive.
The largest success of the film is that the couples’ children, themselves paired off (though not openly), also form a quartet that is a refracted image of their parents generation. They give a glimpse of the future, comment on the story in choir-like fashion, but more subtly and provide a good counterpoint subplot.
The only issues the film really has are a bit unfortunate and hold it back from being much better than it is. There are some drowsy, time-filling montages, which are more problematic in a film this short. Then there’s also the rather abrupt, slapped-through-the-end-credits, somewhat half-baked conclusion of the tale. It’s good for a chuckle but a bit odd and opaque such that it tonally didn’t jibe as well. It’s a minor, mostly personal complaint, others may interpreted differently, and its still very enjoyable on the whole.