Four Minute Warning

Sam Went
Quintuple L Productions

Four Minute Warning

Four Minute Warning has a classic set-up. Malcolm (Doug Muir), a grizzled professional, is trying to retain his fading sense of purpose while his know-it-all colleague Arthur (Ryan D K Cogman) undermines his efforts by generally treating their work as if it is pointless. This is disturbing as they work in a nuclear ballistic missile station and are responsible for deciding whether to issue the four-minute warning of the commencement of war.

The performances balance well. Doug Muir gives Malcolm a slightly maniacal edge as he struggles to keep focus while Ryan D K Cogman is very much the irritating younger brother being deliberately annoying to get attention.

Director April Nash sets a mood of mundane, world-weary resignation as if nothing out the ordinary is happening. We could be eavesdropping on a married couple who have run out of interesting conversation or a pair of drunks at closing time arguing about trivia. It is a pity the director did not take greater care to establish the illusion of the characters being in a work environment—they are clearly filmed in their homes.

Although lighthearted, Sam Went’s script does not shy away from deep issues. Behind the jokes is a fear of becoming obsolete and irrelevant, which is all too common nowadays.

Reviewer: David Cunningham

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