Four Rooms (1995)

★★★

With a plot introduction about a hotel, four half-naked witches, and the even stranger mystery in room ‘404’, I could not resist the curious urge to watch this film…and I’m certainly glad that I took the gamble.

For a film that features such stars as Tim Roth, Madonna and a few others that I won’t name (as their unexpected appearance is part of the thrill), Four Rooms is bizarre, low-budget and utterly mad.

Bellhop Ted begins his first night at the Mon Signor hotel. Ted has been left to cover the night shift on his own, and, naturally, the night is going to be eventful.

As the name suggests, four rooms feature in an almost episodic nature – each room with its own story to tell. Ted starts the night as an overexcited, fidgety young man who throughout the night is challenged and tested as he encounters obscene, hilarious and absurdly colourful characters and situations.

With this movie in particular, I am hesitant to give away too many plot points, as discovering the plot(s) is such a huge part of enjoying it in full. What I will say is – no matter what, you will not be prepared for the ensuing night of bewilderment, violence and downright oddity.

Roth plays the naturally comical Ted with such flamboyance and panache, that there is a radiance around him which suggests that Roth genuinely had fun playing the role.

This notion continues throughout the film with various cameos, and in researching the film a little further I discovered that one of the infamous A-list surprise guests isn’t actually listed in the credits, as he broke the Screen Actor’s Guild rules by choosing to do this film for free, for a laugh and as a favour to one of their co-stars! There is just an overall air to this film that it really must have been as much fun to make as it is to watch.

If this film was meant to be taken seriously, it has failed spectacularly. If, however, it was made to entertain, shock and engage, then it has been a huge success. So cleverly bizarre and brilliantly acted, that I cannot help but fall a little bit in love with it.

Deserving of cult classic status, I hope that a vague, brief, review such as this can persuade one or two of you to give this film the time of day. However, it’s a Marmite kind of deal – you will either love it or hate it. If you prefer a stable film that takes the logical route from A-B, it’s probably best to stay away, as Four Rooms steers very wide of the beaten track.

Four and a half stars purely for entertainment value.

UPDATE 31.01.17

Following a recent re-watch, I have had to bring the rating down to a 3.

Perhaps I was in a super-happy/inquisitive mood when I watched it initially, but this time around, the whole experience was a lot less “ooh what’s this?” and alot more “WTF?”. I stand by the fact that it is quirky, but there are many static moments that seem out of place and though Roth’s acting is brilliant, his character is actually less adorable and more irritating.

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