The title stands for 4 girls, 3 days, 2 cities, 1 chance. The movie has been described as the British answer to the very successful American ensemble movie Go (1999, Doug Liman). Another way to describe it would be a Girl Ritchie movie: a comedy thriller in the style of Guy Ritchie, starring girls instead of guys.
4321 was written and co-directed by Noel Clarke (Adulthood), who also has a cameo and whose image on some movie posters is bigger than those of the girls. His movie has a multiple thread script: it's about a diamond heist and a couple of middlemen who are used by the thieves to shake off the police; and it's also about four girls who once were inseparable but now decide to go their own way. Things take an unexpected turn when one of the middlemen accidently drops a diamond in one of the girls' handbag.
The girls all have their own mini-movie: the suicidal Shannon, the prudish Cass, the militant feminist Kerrys and the pragmatic Jo. The four vignettes are interlinked by objects (that are often misplaced) or scenes that involve two or more girls. All loose ends are neatly tied up in the fourth episode, centered around Emma Roberts - the best known of the four young actresses - as Jo, the foul-mouthed but responsible working class girl who's a real crack at solving other people's troubles (but has trouble to keep her own head above water).
The movie received some very mixed reviews; I liked it, quite a lot actually, but not unconditionally: the movie is vivid, zany, loud and tumultuous, you name it. It also has two steamy sex scenes, one sapphic, one straight. 4321 comes very close to hitting bull's eye but there's something missing; or maybe I should say: it has a bit too much of everything. It has too many characters and the setup of multiple threads told in the non-linear style of Pulp Fiction (yes, Tarantino was an influence too) gradually becomes inextricable. As a screenwriter Clarke is so secretive about things that a couple of potentially good ideas are sunk.
The girls are good-looking (Warren-Markland, who plays Kerrys, is a knockout) but the four vignetttes are wildly uneven (it's by the way also hard to believe that the four were ever bosom friends); the most satisfying episode is the second, starring the incredibly long-legged Tamsin Egerton as the daughter from rich parents who travels to New York to lose her virginity to a guy she has met on the Internet. This episode also benefits from a good cameo appearance by the comedian Kevin Smith (Clerks) as Big Larry, the fast talking man on the Plane.
Directors: Noel Clarke, Mark Davis - Cast: Emma Roberts (Jo), Tamsin Egerton (Cass), Ophelia Lovibond (Shannon), Shanika Warren-Markland (Kerrys), Adam Deacon (Dillon), Michelle Ryan (Kelly), Noel Clarke (Tee), Gregg Chillin (Manuel), Jacob Anderson (Angelo), Sean Pertwee (Mr. Richards), Freddie Stroma (Cool Brett), Kevin Smith (Big Larry), Lindzey Cocker (Gwen), Plan B (Terry), Ashley Thomas (Smoothy), Camille Coduri (Mrs. Phillips), Ben Miller (Mr. Philips), Kate Magowan (Mrs. Richards)