‘Take Four’ delivers four terrific stories

Heather Carrol in ‘Take Four’

One of the differences between a feature length film and a short film is that shorts don’t have to adhere to the standard rules of storytelling. They can be about an idea, or a single moment in time. The most effective shorts are generally the most simplistic. You only have a limited amount of time to get your point across, so the film needs to keep it simple.

That’s not to say a short can’t be complex, instead that simplicity better serves the formula. Take Four is a short film that adheres to this notion. In this case, four separate yet simple stories are told simultaneously. The film, co-directed and co-written by Omar Chavez Jr. and Adrian Orozco, is visually terrific and entertaining throughout. The four stories are uniquely different, with a dry sense of humor and sexuality.

The four stories go as follows:

A young boy (Nicholas Alexander) struggles against bullies and household chores in order to win a challenging video game.

A punk teen (Candace Marie) must clean up her war zone of a room in order to get the keys to the family car.

An unsatisfied wife (Heather Carrol) longs for sexual satisfaction, but when her husband is more interested in his ballgame, she relies are herself to reach her goal.

An actor (Jeremy Mitchell) struggles to memorize a monologue for a play he will appear in that night.

These four stories are not related in character, meaning none of the individuals encounter one another, but they are related in terms of their arcs. Each person, be it the young boy or the wife, are seeking something. Something that seems unattainable, where obstacles continually pop up to try and stop them. In this way, Take Four is clever and intriguing. There is little to no dialogue, except for the actor, whose monologue serves as a kind of narration for the entire film. The way Chavez and Orozco tell these stories without any dialogue was its most interesting aspect. It feels like a music video, but with more depth.

At the same time, the film ironically felt a little too long. As entertaining as it was, I felt half way through that it was spending too much time getting to the point. This wasn’t an overpowering issue, and didn’t take away my enjoyment of the film, but it was there. Had Take Four lost a minute or two of runtime, the film would have moved faster and been more satisfying.

The different actors are also terrific. Alexander provides the film’s biggest laugh with his opening gesture, and Mitchell delivers his monologue with passion that makes the ending moments work so well. Marie’s screen time is limited, in that she really just spends the whole film dancing around and cleaning, while Carrol’s self gratification gives Take Four a unique edge.

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