Four Sheets to the Wind

"Very Good"

Four Sheets to the Wind Review


A 2007 Sundance favorite that never found its way to a feature release, Four Sheets to the Wind deserves to be seen. As a no-budget, small-scale, deeply personal drama, it's a good example of a narrowcast indie effort that focuses hard on individual performances because it can't afford to do anything else.

The title hints at trouble with alcohol, and trouble there is. In fact, the story begins with 20-ish Cufe Smallhill, an Oklahoma Seminole-Cree, dragging the corpse of his father, who has committed suicide, to a pond for a quick and private underwater burial as the man requested. It's quite an image. (Later, with the help of his cousin, he puts watermelons in a coffin to weigh it down and conceal his actions from the friends who gather for the funeral.)

In the wake of that tragedy, and with the blessing of his not-too-surprised-to-be-widowed mother (Jeri Arredondo), Cufe decides to leave home for the first time and visit his older sister Miri (Tamara Podemski) up in Tulsa, where she has been struggling to build an independent life.

Once in the city, Cufe is dismayed to discover that Miri is a bit of a mess. While she does manage to hold down a job in a café, she's drinking heavily and seeks solace with a different guy every night. Cufe soon realizes that he probably won't find much of a new life here, and with nothing to look forward to back in his isolated hometown either, he's basically stuck with nowhere to go.

The only solace Cufe finds is in a budding romance with Miri's neighbor Francie (Laura Bailey), a young woman who treats him with the kind of deference and respect he's never experienced before. As their romance blooms, it's especially painful to watch Miri flailing alongside of them. Cufe may love his mother and sister, but will he ever be able to get from under them and find a path to a meaningful adult life? And with enough challenges of his own, will he be able to engineer reconciliation between the estranged mother and daughter?

While Cody Smallhill is great as the taciturn Cufe, it's Tamara Podemski who picked up a Sundance award for her performance and who is really worth watching. Miri's pain is written all over her face, and although she tries to mask it with humor and witty banter, it's easy to see how she's suffering. With Four Sheets to the Wind, writer/director Sterlin Harjo has done a lot with a little. It's too bad it didn't make it beyond the festival circuit, but that's what DVD players are for.

Now get those sheets sparkling white.



Four Sheets to the Wind

Facts and Figures

Run time: 81 mins

In Theaters: Monday 22nd January 2007

Distributed by: First Look Home Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 7

IMDB: 5.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Sterlin Harjo

Producer: Chad Burris, Ted Kroeber

Contactmusic


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