It’s a long fall down from Dogtooth
The higher they climb, the harder they fall. I came to think of the saying as I watched Alps, the new movie by the Greek director Giorgos Lanthimos.
He’s the director who did Dogtooth, which was one of my favourite movies from 2011 (we got it late in Sweden). It was bizarre, disturbing, not like anything I previously had watched and I was grabbed by the story of the young adults who had been imprisoned by their parents their entire life, fed with lies about how dangerous the world was outside of their protecting wall. While opening for many interpretations, it also worked as a drama bordering to horror movie. I was equally fascinated and appalled and gave it one of my rare 5/5 ratings.
With Dogtooth in fresh memory I had pretty high expectations on Alps (and not just referring to the title.) I had heard that it was about a group of people whose job was to impersonate people who have died for a period to help the people who stood close to them handle their grieving. It sounded like an in interesting concept for something along the lines of Dogtooth. I imagined something that pulled towards science fiction, perhaps a parallel world like the one in Never Let Me Go, a place where the ethics and way of living had developed in a different direction than in our universe.
Sadly enough I was wrong. Whatever I had expected – Alps wasn’t it. God knows what it was. Frankly I can’t remember last time I watched a coconut movie with such a hard, unbreakable shell. Don’t ask me what it was about because I haven’t got a clue.
To say something nice you could say that Lanthimos has a style of his own. For instance he’s instructing the actors to read all the lines as disengaged as possible. This is not something I’m assuming; I heard it in an interview. And if this is his aim, he has certainly succeeded. They all sound like school children reading aloud from the text book with monotonous voices that don’t care about intonation and punctuation. But for what reason? I have no idea. Can someone please explain?
The cinematography is also quite special. Every once in a while the camera focus shifts and halts at something in the foreground, a person or an object. Everything is completely blurred out and there is no depth in the image whatsoever. Maybe it’s supposed to mean something, but all I see is someone posing for the sake of posing.
This is so bad that I really don’t know what to say more than to warn you. This is not a new Dogtooth. It’s crap. I don’t use the word pretentious so I won’t do it now either but I don’t think I’ve ever been as close to using it as in this review.
Is there anything good about it, anything at all? Well, that would be the final song. All of a sudden they played Popcorn. Yep, that Popcorn, the good old dance song that lasts forever and ever, my earliest childhood memory of pop music. It played in my head on my way home and it cheered me up a little. Then it kept playing for yet another day and I got annoyed. Once you got it in your mind it’s hard to turn it off.
Alps on the other hand will be easy to turn off because it gave nothing. Ask me in a week about it and I promise you I won’t remember a thing.
Alps (Alpeis, Giorgos Lanthimos, GR, 2011) My rating: 1,5/5