Ted (Tim Roth) is a new Bellhop working in a luxurious hotel. His first shift is on one of the year’s biggest nights: New Year’s Eve. In the opening scene, we see Ted in his uniform and full of enthusiasm as he is given words of advice from the previous Bellhop, who is now entering retirement, given his old age. Once Ted has been given the rundown on various rules and how best to survive the job, Ted begins taking care of the many guests staying in the hotel.
However, while Ted is excited to work and assist as much as possible, he soon finds himself entering a wild night filled with surprises through every door he enters. Well, four rooms, exactly. Ted is first called upon at the Honeymoon Suite, where he discovers a strange ritual among a coven of witches who require his help to complete the task. The entire evening is filled with many random, wacky moments with unpredictable consequences for Ted and those he interacts with.
Four Rooms is best described as a comedy. It also feels like viewers are watching a stage play, and the film is dialogue heavy. The film is broken into four segments (or chapters), each introduced by an on-screen title. Each segment has been completed by a different director, including Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino. To my surprise, this film also includes many well-known actors throughout, including Antonio Banderas, Madonna, Valeria Golino, and Bruce Willis.
The film opens strongly, especially the introduction of Ted the Bellhop. The opening theme, Vertigogo, by Combustible Edison and the animation from Chuck Jones are a welcomed highlight that gets audiences in the mood for all things random and wacky. Tim Roth as Ted is easily the film’s biggest highlight, and the actor gives much energy to his character through line delivery, his walk and movements. However, as the first story began, I was disappointed by the slow pace, dull story, and unnecessary nudity. The second story improves slightly but still lacks the substance and fun suggested in the film’s opening. Thankfully, the film lifts in quality in every way once it enters its third and fourth stories. Both of these were far more entertaining and enjoyable than the rest of the movie.
Overall, it’s terrific to see actor Tim Roth bring so much energy and wackiness to this film. It’s near impossible not to chuckle at various moments. While the film is divided into four chapters, I found the first two extremely painful and challenging to watch. I wouldn’t be surprised if many viewers just gave up on the first watch, mainly because there are moments to begin with that are highly uninteresting, slow, and lacking any form of fun or value. Thankfully, with Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino behind the camera for parts three and four, viewers are given a far greater experience. Ultimately, it’s a beautiful concept that struggles to get going. As the credits appeared, I was left wishing the entire film was far greater than what it was.