The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

It’s a long fall down from Dogtooth

with 7 comments

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.

Disengaged reading
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.

Popcorn
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

Written by Jessica

February 17, 2012 at 1:00 am

Posted in Alps, Uncategorized

7 Responses

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  1. Yikes!!! I wanted to see this because of Dogtooth. I guess I’ll just wait when it comes on the TV.

    Steven Flores

    February 17, 2012 at 1:16 am

    • I’m sad to bring the sad news. But again: you might disagree with me, you never know. Have you seen Attenberg? Some people say this one is closer to that one than to Dogtooth. If you liked Attenberg it could still work for you.

      Jessica

      February 17, 2012 at 7:09 am

  2. Interesting. I have been meaning to see Dogtooth for ages and Alps, but finding the time is really hard. Thanks for this great write up I will tread Alps with caution

    Scott Lawlor

    February 17, 2012 at 10:35 am

    • Treat Alps with caution but don’t let that deter you from seeing Dogtooth. I thought it was awesome. Some people don’t, but even if you’ll turn out not liking it I can guarantee you it’s a very different movie experience.

      Jessica

      February 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm

  3. Uh oh. Despite the bad reviews it’s been getting, it was one I was always hoping could crack my top 10. I’ll still most likely watch it, but my expectations have been leveled.

    Bonjour Tristesse

    February 19, 2012 at 11:39 am

    • I haven’t seen many reviews on it, apart from a couple in the Swedish papers. It might get a better reception in the blogosphere. For me it just didn’t work at all. But I’m looking forward to see other takes on it. Perhaps there are others who can help me to see something good in it. On my own I was unable to.

      Jessica

      February 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm

  4. [...] as in the beginning of this year I saw a film that I didn’t have a clue of what it was about: Alps, which was made by the same director as did Dogtooth the other year. Utterly incomprehensible. They [...]


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