Succinctly titled Oz docu “4” is an elegantly lensed but awkwardly packed kitbag on a globetrotting journey that uses Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” as a point of departure. Film jumps from Tokyo (spring) to Australia (summer), New York (autumn) and Finland (winter), with a talented violinist heading and performing in each seg. But between the music making, there’s way too much talk and lack of focus. Film opened locally to brisk arthouse biz in August. Midlevel fests and pubcasters will also dance to the docu’s tune.
Starting with Tokyo’s springtime cherry blossoms, the docu’s first quadrant is heartwarmingly pleasant, including cute tyke violin prodigies. Oz and Gotham sections are over-discursive: in the former, a violinist en route to a concert in Queensland stops in Alice Springs to talk to some Central Australian aboriginals; in the latter, an Oz-raised Taiwanese violinist largely sits in a deli being an “honorary Jew.” Finnish section refocuses on the pic’s seasonal theme, but as a whole, “4” gives no clear idea of what it’s aiming for. Picturesque HD lensing is a delight, as are the musicians’ performances, while other tech credits hit the right notes.