Four Corners, 2013.
Directed by Ian Gabriel.
Starring Brendon Daniels, Jezzriel Skei, Lindiwe Matshikiza, Irshaad Ally and Abduragman Adams.
Intertwining tales of 4 people caught in the Number Gang Wars of the 26 and the 28 in the Cape Flats of Cape Town.
Four Corners has a good contrast of differences and similarities to the gangster style films that have come before it. Taking place in South Africa with a lot of the dialogue taking place in Afrikaans, gives it a different view and perspective to any comparable film. However it does keep some of the structures we know, such as a talented kid being corrupted by the charismatic and angry young gang leader, the former gang member who wants out but is haunted by his past and the police Captain who empathises with everyone’s situation and all seem to like. The finale where truths are learned and confrontations made, felt like a staple of the genre.
Four Corners follows talented chess player Ricardo (Jezzriel Skei) being easily taken in and influenced by the gang war around him, especially by the angry Gasant (Irshaad Ally) who takes advantage of the boys. Unbeknownst to him his father, Farakhan (Brendon Daniels),is recently released from prison after a stint with the rival 28 gang and searches for him. Amongst this story we also have boys being abducted causing more tensions between the gangs and the Police Captain Tito (Abduragman Adams) searching for them to stop a full scale war.
Unfortunately with so much going on it’s hard to keep track of everything happening in Four Corners. What the Four Corners actually refers to is never made clear as it is used in reference to the local prison and the area where these 2 gangs live. There is a constant comparison between the characters stories and chess but it never fits. The child murderer sub-plot seems out of place and easily forgettable until the film’s conclusion. Unfortunately by this point I’d somewhat started to lose interest as the clunky storytelling means we jolt to this point rather than flowing naturally as clearly was intended.
The performances were mostly good in spite of the story, with the actors playing all their parts as well as they could. The characters were fairly archetypal as said above but this didn’t stop them from having fairly interesting arcs, with violence and emotion mixed together well in a few scenes. Brendon Daniels as Farakhan shone throughout and had all of the films few humorous moments. Lindiwe Matshikiza as the visiting Dr Domingo is a frustrating character and her story feels shoved in because they need a Doctor for a happy ending.
Four Corners has some the pieces that should make for an exciting new gangster film, with its different setting and use of foreign language. However it feels more like a game of chess where it drags and by the time the point of Checkmate comes around, everyone’s lost their interest on how it ends.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film ★ ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★