Four Rooms is a very unique film as it is one film split into four different segments, one segment per room, with each segment helmed by a different director. The first two segments of the film, The Missing Ingredient, which is written and directed by Allison Anders, and The Wrong Man, written and directed by Alexandre Rockwell, are pretty poor efforts, especially when you compare them to those segments in the second half of the second half of the film.
Both Anders and Rockwell's segments feel dragged out, even though they are both under 20 minutes long. Anders' film feels painfully unfunny and tries too hard to be "out there" and weird, while Rockwell's effort feels self-indulgent and is basically a poor man's effort at a Tarantino type story. There is a reason why both of these directors have faded away, while Tarantino and Rodriguez's careers both continue to prosper in the aftermath of this flick.
Upon Four Rooms' release in 1995, its entire selling point was that it was from the creators of Pulp Fiction; however, this did not help the film's box office numbers or ease the critic's unfavourable reviews of the film. After watching this, it's obvious that the reason for such poor reviews is because of Tim Roth's bizarre and over-the-top performance, but also because it is a task within itself to get through the first two segments of the film. However, if you do manage to "keep calm and carry on" through the first half of the film, you will be pleasantly surprised by the treat in store.
Both Tarantino and Rodriguez's segments are entertaining, quirky and rather shocking entries. This is rather surprising, not because either of these men are terrible directors, but more so because the film up to the point of Rodriguez's The Misbehavers is so bad that to actually see anything of any value or entertainment in the film is shocking. Both Rodriguez's and Tarantino's segments burst with all the regular style, troupes and plot you'd expect from these directors.
Rodriguez's segment focuses on a brother and sister who are left alone on new year's eve in a hotel room which has a horrible and unidentified smell. Tarantino's The Man from Hollywood presents a dark look at the hobbies and interests of three very influential and powerful men from Hollywood that are quite decadent and indulgent in their hobbies. Rodriguez's segment may feel like the template for what would become his Spy Kids franchise, but the ending of his segment actually takes a truly shocking and quite disturbing turn, while also being laugh-out loud hilarious.
Tarantino's segment, which ends up finishing the film, is full to the brim with Tarantino troupes, from there being a wealth of quick and colloquial dialogue, which focuses primarily on film and pop-culture, to a story-line which creates a foreboding atmosphere which gets increasingly more tense as the segment goes on and finally climaxes in a rather blunt, unexpected and humorous way.
I find it hard to make a decision in this round as both segments are very fun and entertaining, and much needed after the two very disappointing segments which open the film. However, purely because of the totally unexpected and hilarious ending to The Misbehavers, Rodriguez wins this round.
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