FOUR OF A KIND
After interviewing a surgeon's wife, Anne Carson (Louise Siversen), in a murder investigation involving a young student with a crush on Anne's husband, Detective Inspector Gina Sturrock (Leverne McDonnell), reveals a long-forgotten crime to her psychiatrist Glenda Hartley (Gail Watson). But the psychiatrist has problems of her own. Her new young lover Michael (Ben Steel) might be having an affair with her best friend Susan (Nina Landis).
Review by Louise Keller:
Circular in structure, this beguiling drama links four stories in which truth, honesty and deception play a vital part. Murder, infidelity, blackmail are all woven together in a fascinating tale that is as compelling as a whole, just as each of its self-contained components. The women in the stories go from being in a position of control to one of vulnerability and each story intrigues as we get to know the characters and their circumstances. There are issues of morality, manipulation, friendship, jealousy and rage as dark secrets and the connection between a surgeon's wife, a cop, a psychiatrist and a government policy officer are revealed. The fine line between fact and fiction is also canvassed, while the bitter sweet pieces de resistance between each scenario are the soulful jazzy musical pieces from Joe Camilleri & The Black Sorrows. Tunes like Ain't Love the Strangest Thing and Little Murders add potency to the juicy pot stirred.
Although I worried a little that women being questioned by police without their lawyer would readily admit to lying, the thrust of writer director Fiona Cochrane's script is terrific and the revelations intriguing. Also interesting is how themes reoccur in different contexts and a character trait perceived to be negative is eventually inherited by the person against whom it is used. I especially like the way Cochrane constantly dips into flashback to illustrate the circumstances, as her characters tell their stories.
We first meet Louise Siversen's well-to-do surgeon's wife Anne being interrogated on camera in a murder investigation for her adulterous husband's lover. 'Fame and glory are the greatest aphrodisiac my husband has ever known,' she says as she rejects his infidelity. It is this notion of adulation being an aphrodisiac that prompts Gina (Leverne McDonnell), the interrogating cop, to recall her past relationship with her uni lecturer, when she visits her assured psychiatrist Glenda (Gail Watson), shrink to the rich and famous. But Glenda is not always in control; we next meet her when she is at her most vulnerable, facing the truth about her straying, younger lover and her best friend Susan (Nina Landis).
Cochrane keeps us guessing until the very end before we see where she is taking us. Omitting the truth can be as devastating as telling a lie, and there are many truths omitted.
Performances are all excellent, especially McDonnell's Gina who allows us to understand the journey from victim to perpetrator with great clarity. Universal in its appeal, but with special resonance to women, this seemingly simple film is deceptively complex, and lingers accordingly.
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FOUR OF A KIND (M)
CAST: Leverne McDonnell, Gail Watson, Nina Landis, Louise Siversen, Michael Fry, Ben Steel, Peta Brady, Daniel Whyte
PRODUCER: Fiona Cochrane
DIRECTOR: Fiona Cochrane
SCRIPT: Helen Collins
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Zbigniew Friedrich
EDITOR: Zbigniew Friedrich
MUSIC: Joe Camilleri & The Black Sorrows
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Not credited
RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Gil Scrine
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 11, 2009 (Melbourne; other states to follow)