BluRay/DVD Reviews

FOUR DEAD BATTERIES

By • Nov 22nd, 2005 •

Share This:

(Up Past Midnight Productions) 2004
96 mins / 1.85:1 AR / Rated ‘R’
Three commentary tracks, including one geared for aspiring filmmakers…

There’s a lovely scene midway through the film: one of the four loser-buddies has picked up a woman, and she shows up (late) at the club where they hang out. The four men watch her enter and approach from the distance, unleashing a volley of ribald assessments about the girl, gathering in speed as the opinions pile on amongst the seated four, until she arrives at the table and they politely demur to their (hopefully) lucky mate and evacuate the area. It’s a terrific comic highlight, using as it does spatial design (DP Raquel Fernandez), directorial pacing (Hiram Martinez), particularly amusing dialogue (Martinez), and some deft editing and sound mixing (Todd Zelin, Andrew Halasz, James Stefiuk), not to mention the bulk of the cast at the peak of their talents (Patrick Dall’Occhio, Benjamin Travers, Rob Webber, Dave Zubradt, Allison Becker). It’s a classic example, on a very limited budget, of pure cinema. The big boys in LA-LA Land couldn’t have done it better.

I found the title unappealing, but my 33-year-old son liked it, and it’s about 30-somethings, so maybe it taps into a metaphor I missed. What I do understand is that the title refers to four friends who perform a stand-up comic improv routine to mixed results. It also refers to their romantic lives, which are drained of love, short on sex, and looking bleak…though like most single (and one married) men, they stagger on, self-deluded, in search of happiness.

The film gets off to a rough start, since none of the four are sympathetic enough at first blush to merit our interest, and the lighting and art direction don’t help. But within a fairly short time the thrust of the narrative becomes clear, the pacing picks up, and the dialogue hits the target more and more often. The casting is thoughtful (although two of the guys look a bit similar, which confused me), and it respects its audience by moving quickly from one storyline to the next. Frailties in both sexes are given equally indelicate comic treatment. And the score by The Hot Club of Cowtown contains some delightful pieces.

There’ll be a few substantial careers spawned by this tyro effort.


Written, Produced & Directed by Hiram Martinez. Producer, Benjamin Travers. Original Music by The Hot Club of Cowtown. Cinematography by Raquel Fernandez, Editing by Todd Zelin.

Cast (in credits order) Patrick Dall’Occhio , Benjamin Travers, Rob Webber, Dave Zubradt Annie Armstrong, Alison Becker.

Tagged as:
Share This Article: Digg it | del.icio.us | Google | StumbleUpon | Technorati

Leave a Comment

(Comments are moderated and will be approved at FIR's discretion, please allow time to be displayed)