(2016, 65 min)
Country: U. S.
Director: Adolfo Alix Jr.
Studio: TLA Releasing
Two college friends who slowly realize they mean more to each other than either had initially realized. 4 Days joins Derek and Mark in the days leading up to Valentine's Day - over the course of a few years - charting the blossoming of a friendship in to something much more enduring as time goes on and challenging both to question who they thought they were and who they truly want to be. Painting a moving picture of how an abiding friendship can sometimes lead to love - and how we sometimes have to wrestle with our own demons to find their true self - 4 Days is achingly romantic and delicate.
Derek (Sebastian Castro) and Mark (Mikoy Morales) meet at college when they become roommates. Upon Mark’s arrival he learns that Derek has a revolving door of girlfriends in his never-ending search for love. Told over the course of a few years, 4 Days explores Derek and Mark’s relationship as they realise that Derek’s commitment issues may be less to do with the girls he’s dating and more to do with him not having faced up to his own sexuality.
4 Days is a film with a sweet heart but one that perhaps withholds a little too much from the viewer. The film opens as Derek and Mark meet for the first time and the two are thrust into an awkward conversation about creating a code to let each other know when they have a girl in their room so they don’t get disturbed. Mark clearly has no interest in girls but he goes along with Derek’s suggestion and even finds himself writing and singing a song for Derek’s latest girlfriend on Valentine’s Day.
As Derek goes through girl after girl, Mark struggles in secret as it becomes clear that he has feelings for his roommate but has no idea what to do about them. There are quite a few long drawn out scenes that could do with being shorter and this makes the pace of the film drag a bit. Another issue is that time moves on with little to no warning so it felt like suddenly Derek and Mark had a deep friendship mere minutes after meeting one another.
One of my biggest issues with the film is that it doesn’t give you enough time to actually invest in the burgeoning relationship between Derek and Mark. When it comes to the moment where the two could cross the friendship line, it doesn’t feel realistic because there’s been no real build up other than from Mark’s side. Derek doesn’t really express any interest in Mark and he shows no signs of being anything other than a womaniser. This makes the last 20 minutes or so of the film quite hard to go along with and whatever does go on to happen between the men mostly happens off screen.
The performances of Sebastian Castro and Mikoy Morales are decent enough but neither actor gets all that much to work with. Castro is the better of the two and Morales gets a little OTT by the end of the movie expressing emotion by shouting rather than bringing out his character’s frustration in a more subtle and real way.
4 Days has an interesting, if not wholly original, premise but it’s let down by the execution. Writer/director Adolfo Alix Jr. doesn’t do enough to make his characters, and their relationship, believable so the film lacks the kind of authenticity you would expect from a story of this nature. 4 Days was an enjoyable enough watch but I feel it was hampered by the script and directorial decisions.
-- Review by Pip Ellwood-Hughes, Entertainment Focus (http://www.entertainment-focus.com)