Written and Directed by: Robert Trott
Cinematography by: Markus A Ljungberg
Starring: Tommy Balaam, Sophia Jackson, Craig Haines, Tomasz Aleksander
Indie Film Review by: Euan Franklin
Socialising is hard, and overrated. The pressure of talking with other humans, whether you know them or not, is often grating and too much to be bothered with. It’s much nicer to stay in comfort and solitude, but often you have no choice. You’re forced into a social situation as if being pushed into a mosh-pit – such are the issues of the introvert. These are, in essence, the feelings of Douglas Courage (Tommy Balaam), the nerdy, twentysomething hero of Robert Trott’s indie film 4:00am.
Dragged along by his best friend Juniper (Sophia Jackson), Doug attends his first house party – hosted by the “legendary” Cooper (Craig Haines). Doug is hopelessly in love with Juniper, but she’s in a relationship with the less-than-savoury horn-ball Jason Dunworthy (Tomasz Aleksander). At the party, Juniper is told that Jason’s been cheating on her and she leaves the house crying – leaving Doug to fend for himself.
It’s refreshing to watch an online indie comedy that’s consistently funny, which is as rare as finding a diamond in a compost heap. Trott creates a lot of recognisable characters and deliciously awkward scenarios that even the most extroverted personality can empathise with. Although the focus is on Doug’s struggle to be sociable, every character has their own little story and each harbours an insecurity of their own. Maybe Doug isn’t so alone.
Cooper’s house becomes a strange world, revealing weird surprises behind every door. There are many dips into the surreal with condoms in fish tanks, pork pies in discarded mugs, and toilet rolls balanced between faucets. Watching Markus A Ljungberg’s visuals is like delving into a millennial Magritte. Adding to this, Trott explores Doug’s mind as it flies in bizarre directions. 4:00am is observational without being tedious, uncommon for a film about a house party (think about the vast number of lazy student films with the same premise).
The script is too good for the performances, but the actors are convincing enough – carrying us comfortably through the story. Balaan looks like a young Eddie Redmayne, and Jackson resembles Hannah Britland from the Netflix series Lovesick. There are too many speeches about Life, and Ljungberg’s talents don’t shine during daytime exteriors – but the film could easily be mistaken for a TV show. And the untied ending could pave the way for more episodes in the life of Douglas Courage.
4:00am is a funny, relatable, awkward comedy that plunges you into the grind of twenty-something existence – filled with alcohol and quarter-life crises. Doug is a strong hero for the introverts, not often seen so vividly and sympathetically portrayed, and there’s something to feel for in every one of Trott’s characters. And something to laugh at.
Watch the official movie trailer for 4:00am below...