18.104.22.168. Starring Emma Roberts, Noel Clarke, Tamsin Egerton, Mandy Patinkin and Kevin Smith, Directed by Noel Clarke and Mark Davis. Rated MA 15+ (strong coarse language, sex scenes and violence). 117 minutes.
Noel Clarke made two sharp films about teen people and adult people in the London suburbs: Kidulthood and Adutlhood. This film is more ambitious but makes less impact.
It starts with a misleading incident, which is later seen to be the opposite of what we thought and, then, before you can say 22.214.171.124., we are whirling around in time (with whirling camera and lots of flash flourishes) as we follow four young women and what they did over a two day period. When you realise that we are going back in time for each of the four, then it makes sense and we see the interconnections and the repeats and make sense of what is happening.
Meanwhile there is a subplot of a diamond robbery in Antwerp and the misadventures of the London connection which sees one of the girls in unwitting possession of the diamonds. She is also having a bad emotional time as her mother is leaving her father who is bogged down in sadness and self-pity. The rich girl of the four flies off to New York to secure a study place as well as to see the charming man on the other end of the computer link-up. Some disasters there as well (despite cameo appearances from Mandy Patinkin and Kevin Smith). A third girl, of mixed race, has a hard time with her family and teams up with her girlfriend. The fourth is an American (Emma Roberts) who works in a supermarket.
Quite a number of coincidences drive the plot forward, but it will depend on whether you like the girls and believe in them whether you are persuaded that this is an effective drama or not.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Out August 19 2010