Writer & Director: Chris Kraus
Budget: 1,400,000 euros (estimated)
Four Minutes is about: an elderly piano teacher trains a young convict at a women's penitentiary. wait, don't go!!! i know what you are thinking... its Dangerous Minds meets Freedom Writers meets (insert names of any of the dozen other movies where troubled youth are helped by a teach/mentor and everything turns out good in the end). this isn't that though...
this german film that played at the toronto film festival back in 2006 and just finally got its north amercian release within the last few months doesn't play into all those over-used and predictable hollywood conventions for films like this. sure, there are some moments that you might see coming, and certain conventions are followed, but, things don't have to be completely different from everything you have ever seen before in order to be original and interesting. therefor when they do it feels completely justified and something to celebrate rather then complain about.
the lead actors are great and their relationship and its development feels genuine and doesn't follow the exact path one might assume. that is because there is some actual dimension to them. the old women isn't just a sweet old lady trying to help. she has a past that has shaped her and effects her to this day. as for the young girl, she too is more then just an angry convict. the secondary characters are also interesting and one of them especially is important to the story and is much more then just a plot device or such.
in a summer of hit and miss blockbuster take a break and treat yourself to a film like Four Minutes or Young People Fucking which i talked about a few weeks back. don't let these films be forgotten amid the summer blockbuster hype.