An adaptation of Pulitzer prize finalist Christopher Shinn’s first play of the same name, Four is both an emotional and urgent glimpse into the lives of four troubled and fascinating individuals, as well as a mirror on the very American experience of life in the suburbs, where devastating dialogues of romance and loneliness routinely play out in the most mundane of spaces.
As the world around them celebrates the 4th of July with fireworks and festivity, a closeted married man, his young daughter, a gay teen, and a minor drug dealer haltingly negotiate one-night affairs that will allow them a temporary respite from their own stifling lives. Between the sex and the small talk, moments of unexpected intimacy and tenderness emerge, and the specter of a real connection proves more intoxicating than any momentary physical pleasure.
Filmmaker, author and artist Joshua Sanchez (Kill or Be Killed, Frameline28) upends typical expectations of race and gender, reading Shinn’s drama with an intensity that invariably invites comparison to the early films of Neil Labute for its candor, carnality, and explicit focus on the mechanics of longing. Alongside a cast of hot, young indie standouts including Emory Cohen (Debra Messing’s son on Smash), character actor Wendell Pierce (The Wire, Treme) gives a nuanced, powerful performance that echoes the film’s own unlikely intermix of hope and despair. –Frameline