A still from the music video showing Madonna and Timberlake. The black background is seen behind Timberlake, devouring his flesh.
The music video was directed by French duo Jonas & François in London, England. It featured choreography by Jamie King, who worked on Madonna's Confessions, Re-Invention and Drowned World tours as well as her video for the single "Sorry" (2006). Japanese hip hop dancing duo Hamutsun Serve also made an appearance in the video. Before its release, Rolling Stone said that in the video Madonna and Timberlake act as if they were "superheroes" while they evade multiple obstacles. In the video, Madonna wore a cream colored corset, glistening black boots and styled her hair in platinum blond waves while Timberlake wore mainly denims and a scarf around his neck. Regarding the idea behind the music video, Madonna said that "it was conceptualistic". She explained that the video was shot like a march past; "It's a movement, and we want to take everybody with us." About the idea of a black screen devouring everything, Madonna said,
None of us did [understand the concept of the black screen]. It was just, you know, it's very conceptual. We basically gave the song to the two French directors [Jonas & François] and they came up with the only concept that I thought was interesting, with this black sort of amorphous graphic line slowly eating up the world. I just liked that as a concept.
The video used soft focus, gentle lighting and airbrushing looks on Madonna. It starts with Timbaland chanting the opening line in front of a giant timer screen that counts down from four minutes. As he sings, a black geometric patterned screen comes from behind and engulfs all of the musical devices present. Madonna and Timberlake enter a house but run away from it after finding the screen there, which starts eating the hands and legs of the inhabitants of the house, thus showing their insides. After a number of shots showing Madonna and Timberlake jumping on and over cars to escape from the screen, they finally move into a supermarket. The screen follows them, consuming the long lines of stalls and the people present there. As the second chorus starts, they arrive in front of the screen where Timbaland is singing. After choreographed dancing, Madonna performs a back arch as the timer reaches zero time. The last "tick-tock, tick-tock" sound is heard, Madonna and Timberlake dance again on a long stage; the black screen approaches them from both sides. The video ends with both of them kissing, and the black screen devouring them. Timberlake's bones and ribs, and Madonna's cheeks are seen in the last shot.
Regarding the video, Madonna said it was like "[g]oody goody gum drops", referring to the candy-oriented theme of the album. Virginia Heffernan from The New York Times called the video heart-pounding, and compared its momentum with the music video of "Thriller, "In the Air Tonight" and "Shadows of the Night". However, Eric Wilson from the same newspaper commented that the video did not yield a breakout Madonna look compared to her videos from the 1980s. Singer Miley Cyrus created her own version of the video and posted it on her YouTube channel. Madonna responded to it in her own video and said, "All you people out there who are making videos to my new single, '4 Minutes,' keep up the good work, nice job." "4 Minutes" was nominated for an award at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards in the "Best Dancing in a Video" category, but lost to the Pussycat Dolls' single "When I Grow Up". In 2009, the video was included on Madonna's compilation, Celebration: The Video Collection.