A woman retreats to a cabin to compose a piece of music but continues to be haunted writers block.
Sarah is a musician who’s trying to compose a piece of music. Getting away from it all to focus, she hides herself away in a cabin in the woods, but she’s haunted by writers’ block and just can’t quite get it done.
She sits down at her keyboard and starts up her metronome and hopes for a flash of inspiration to strike. But nothing comes…only the relentless pacing of the metronome.
Writer-director Kyle Sawyer makes a story of an internal battle and creates a small gem about the creative process, capturing the outsized internal drama that a creator goes through to push work out of their heads into the world.
The metronome’s rhythm is one of the organizing principles of the film, and its steady, even taunting beat undergirds the rhythm of the film, which is superbly edited to imbue Sarah’s mundane routines with anxiety and drama. Whether she’s making coffee or brushing teeth, her struggle is always there in the background.
A film at this scale can feel claustrophobic, but Sawyer’s dynamic visual direction and editing keep the pace brisk and engaging, even with essentially no dialogue and no other actors. Actor Katie Billo carries the film entirely on her shoulders, capturing the subtle ebb and flow of emotions involved in solitude and creativity. There’s both meditation and pleasure involved, but also edginess and loneliness.
“4/4” is a self-contained film about a moment, but its sense of craft and subtle humor imbues it with epic significance. It makes the case that creative people are embroiled in a fierce battle, often against themselves, to create — and that inspiration isn’t something to be passively waited upon, but something that is won through effort and struggle.
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