PORTLAND FESTIVAL OF CINEMA, ANIMATION & TECHNOLOGY 2023 REVIEW! Johnny D. Kirk’s The Fourth is a chilling tale of a group of youth stopped for a crime they didn’t commit. Kontravious Harrell plays Rey, a black young person hanging out with his friends on the Fourth of July. Sure, they’re causing a bit of trouble, but it’s more mischief than anything. When the teens stop off at a liquor store for some snacks, Saint (Lee Bingham) jokes around on his cell phone, screaming, “Shoplifter!” for a viral moment. As the teens leave, they are approached by a few cops who are not in on the joke.
“…Saint is down. The officer realizes he made a mistake…”
In an instant, Saint is down. The officer realizes he made a mistake, and his fellow officers quickly conspire to get their take on the shooting to match up. Meanwhile, Rey is being held under “suspicion” by the officers.
While this story has been told many times, particularly in the realm of short films, filmmaker Kirk uses this medium to focus our attention on Rey. While no crime was committed, his guilt comes by association. We are able to step into Rey’s shoes and feel what it’s like to have one’s life unjustly changed forever while knowing you are innocent. The storytelling of The Fourth is spot on. Stick around to the end for the twist.
The Fourth screens at the 2023 Portland Festival of Cinema, Animation & Technology.
"…feel what it's like to have one's life unjustly changed forever while knowing you are innocent."