Fantastic Fest 2019: 4X4 is a 90-Minute White Knuckle Thrill Ride

As far as film premises go, Mariano Cohn‘s 4X4 definitely is one of the more bizarre at Fantastic Fest this year. The Argentinian thriller focuses on Ciro (Peter Lanzani), a brazen thief who breaks into an SUV in an affluent neighborhood and gets much more than he bargained for when he realizes he has taken the bait in a cruel trap. In a film that feels like a mashup of Locke and Buried, Ciro is held captive against his will in an almost indestructible bullet/sound proof car aptly called “The Predator.” If that wasn’t enough, his captor sadistically toys with the young man via the onboard speakerphone, giving context to what led him to create this sadistic scenario. It’s an intense watch as we see Ciro slowly slip into madness over several days spent locked in the car without food or water.

While the entirety of the film essentially takes place in the confines of an SUV, there’s a kinetic energy to 4X4 that’s indicative of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor’s Crank, as Peter Lanzani relentlessly tries, and fails, to escape. It’s no easy task, but Cohn is more than up to it as the film is a tense 90 minute white knuckle thrill ride that delivers in almost every way possible. This is also thanks to Peter Lanzani, who never softens his character’s edge to get the audience to be sympathetic to his plight, but he invokes that with his gradual psychological deterioration on screen. The most believable thing Cohn does here is not give us the kind of satisfying conclusion you’d expect, instead taking the story in a direction I honestly didn’t expect and that made me love this crazy film just that much more!

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