Four of a Kind is a rarity – an Australian film that features four richly-drawn female lead roles and a complex interwoven storyline that had me intrigued and engaged the whole time.
The story starts with a police interview, where a police officer Gina (Leverne McDonnell) is questioning Anne (Louise Seversen), a rich surgeon’s wife, in relation to a murder investigation. As the questions unfold, the truth is slowly revealed – not just about the murder, but about the relationship between the wilfully ignorant Anne and her unfaithful husband. We then follow Gina as she visits her psychiatrist Glenda (Gail Watson), who interprets Gina’s dreams to unravel a dark secret from her past. Glenda leaves the session emotionally exhausted and meets up with her best friend Susan (Nina Landis) for dinner. However, the tension and drama escalates when Glenda confronts Susan with evidence that Susan was having an affair with Susan’s much younger lover, Michael. The loop is closed in the fourth act where another police interview is taking place – this time Susan is being questioned by Gina in relation to the murder of Michael.
As the last scene fades, you’re left wondering whether Susan really is a murderer, or merely a blackmailer? Is Gina protecting Glenda because of her own secret, and her belief that some people deserve to die and some murderers do not deserve to be punished? Most importantly, what is the nature and value of truth – and is omitting the truth the same as lying?
It is very hard to keep an audience engaged for two hours watching a film which basically features two talking heads at a time and which is clearly an adaptation of a four act play. I think the director Fiona Cochrane has done a credible job to maintain momentum by using numerous flashback scenes for visual effect and by inserting an intermission after each act with the bluesy music of Joe Camilleri and the Black Sorrows.
Four of a Kind is the kind of adult, complex film that I enjoy watching, and it’s a shame that it is only on limited release at Cinema Nova in Melbourne. See it soon.