Showing as part of the Raindance Film Festival, Fourever by Anton Saunders is reviewed by Katie Young
Fourever is a warped little tale of love and friendship gone awry. It is written, directed and produced by Anton Saunders, who also stars as Johnny, and has the bonus distinction of being the second film I’ve seen this week featuring a woman taking a poo. Honestly, those defecation scenes are like buses. You wait all year, then two number twos come along at once…
Fourever’s story unfolds in a non-linear way, opening in the midst of a rather drunken reunion, and flashing back to Johnny making preparations for his soiree. His three best friends, whom it would appear haven’t seen each other for a decade, have been invited to a fancy dress party by Johnny, a man who can’t move on from his past, but they soon discover their host has lied about inviting anyone else, and his motivation for keeping the gathering so intimate soon takes a sinister turn.
As the wine flows and various drugs are popped and snorted, it becomes clear that there is a lot of unfinished business between this foursome. Aid and Kat are still attracted to one another even though she is now a married mother. Lizzy and Johnny have been together in the past, but Lizzy is also seeking revenge against Aid who she claims raped her the last time they met. Aid resents Johnny’s inability to grow up and make something of his life, and Johnny thinks Aid is a media wanker who has sold his soul.
The disjointed nature of the film and seemingly improvised dialogue does reflect the nightmarish feel of the party. Characters talk at cross-purposes and repeat themselves. There are awkward pauses and moments when the viewer is confronted by the breakdown of a character’s inhibitions, such as when Kat conducts a conversation with Lizzy whilst on the toilet, or Aid shaves his pubic hair before sleeping with Kat to make himself look bigger. The intrusive soundtrack, which actually drowns out the dialogue at certain points, adds to our discomfort and disorientation, and the escalating tension and irrationality makes the tragic conclusion seem almost inevitable.
My main problem with this film is that, while the performances were solid enough, I couldn’t actually feel for any of the characters enough to care about their fates. Johnny is volatile, his mind chemically altered and his development arrested. He wants Lizzy back, even presenting her with a ring in a misguided attempt at romance, but at the same time he repeatedly questions her integrity. Kat seems shallow and selfish, as does Aid, and Lizzy’s rather passive response to being confronted by her attacker all those years later seems too nonchalant to be believable and detracts from our sympathy for her. I would have liked to delve a bit more into these characters and their shared history during the reunion, to get a sense of who they were and what they meant to each other before it all went wrong. Portraits rather than quick sketches.
As it stands, Fourever is a strange and gritty little film, not entirely successful in terms of characterisation, but fairly compelling and haunting nonetheless.