27 June 2012

EIFF 2012: Fourth Dimension Review


Three filmmakers, each with the same brief, construct three separate short films on the subject of the fourth dimension (4D). This being that there is a fourth spacial dimension in our world waiting to be accessed. Not that you are likely to pick any of this up from the disjointed and completely tedious, The Fourth Dimension. However, praise should go to The Fourth Dimensions' producers for attempting to create something unique.

The first segment entitled 'The Lotus Community Workshop' directed by Harmony Korine is by far the film's strongest asset. Val Kilmer stars as himself, with the actor now working as an inspirational self-help guru promising his followers the prospect of discovering "awesome secrets". The strength of the segment relies on Kilmers' wonderful screen-presence and outrageous improvisation - his performance lying somewhere between comedy genius and demented lunacy. Set in a red lit skating rink, complete with disco ball, Korine's segment captures the way people look to celebrity in almost a God-like fashion, searching for a way of higher being. This is captured through the audiences obsessive screams at any of Kilmer's statements, regardless of how implausible and ridiculous they are.

As we move on to the second segment, Alexey Fedorchenko’s Chronoeye things take a rather extreme turn for the worst. Despite being the closest thematically to an idea of a fourth dimension, an interesting concept is squandered by a repetitive narrative and dull characterisation. Chronoeye sees Russian scientist, Grigory Mikhailovich (Igor Sergeev) attempt to create a machine that can view the most important moments throughout history through eyewitness accounts. Whilst this concept does sound interesting, Fedorchenko’s segement is carried out in such a drab, repetitive fashion that it just becomes completely unengaging.

The final segment Jan Kwiecinski's Fawns sees four youths roam around an evacuated Polish town, as extreme floods approach. Kwiecinski's segment takes a more human approach to the fourth dimension as these boisterous characters soon find their humanity after saving a bedbound young girl from the floods. This statement about humanity does not really hold out too well though, as prior to saving the girl they shoot her father who was attempting to protect her. These characters are particularly unlikeable throughout and as a viewer it was a challenge to regard them with any compassion.

The Fourth Dimension is simply too disjointed to work thematically as one film. How teenagers roaming around an abandoned town relates to Val Kilmer shouting about candy floss and awesome secrets, is anyone's guess. It may make more sense when you see that The Fourth Dimension is from Grolsch Film Works as surely kegs of the stuff must have been downed in order to think this was ever a clever, feasible idea.

Andrew McArthur

Stars:Val Kilmer
Directors: Harmony Korine, Aleksei Fedorchenko, Jan Kwiecinski

Release: 27th June (EIFF)

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