Retro Film Review: Four Rooms (1995) by drax

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Retro Film Review: Four Rooms (1995)
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*(SPECIAL NOTE: Capsule version of the review is available [here](*

People in Southeast Europe say that "too many midwives deliver a weak child." That proverb is often used by film critics in this part of the world and illustrates a common phenomenon in the world of cinema - project that combine great individual talents only to deliver disappointing results. Nowhere is such phenomenon so obvious as in the case of anthology films. The latest such example is *Four Rooms*, 1995 black comedy that featured segments directed by Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. All of the film makers involved were best known for their work in independent films, and this project is designed as such.

The film is made of four separate stories that take place in run- down Los Angeles hotel on New Year's Eve. The common protagonist is Ted (played by Tim Roth), recently employed bellhop that has to deal with four different and bizarre situations. In the first segment ("The Missing Ingredient", directed by Allison Anders) he has to help coven of witches in bizarre ritual. In the second segment ("The Wrong Man", directed by Alexandre Rockwell) he gets involved in sadomasochistic game between woman and her lover. In the third segment ("The Misbehavers") he is tasked by Latino gangster (played by Antonio Banderas) to baby-sit his two children. In the fourth segment ("Man From Hollywood", directed by Quentin Tarantino) he witnesses bizarre bet involving Zippo lighters and parts of someone's anatomy.

*Four Rooms* features impressive casting (Banderas, Marisa Tomei, Jennifer Beals, Tamlyn Tomita, Bruce Willis, Paul Calderon) and two of its directors are quite talented. Yet the result is quite disappointing, partly because their story-telling talents don't work well within 20-minute constraints of short segments nor their segments work in the context of the film as a whole. To make things worse, only one of those segments ("The Misbehavers") is entertaining, while the last (and the most attractive for snobbish audience) is nothing more than one overlong joke. Two previous segments are simply unwatchable, and even Tim Roth, otherwise dependable actor, disappoints with the overacting. If not for Robert Rodriguez' part, *Four Rooms* would have been complete waste of time, but even in this state it is hardly successful advertisement of American independent cinema.
RATING: 3/10 (+)

*(Note: The text in its original form was posted in Usenet newsgroup on April 2nd 2003)*


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