More wonderful darkness from Yorgos Lanthimos, this time looking at grief and a group of people who start a business trying to help those who have recently lost a loved one by providing them with an impersonation of that person. Strange, twisted, brilliant, there's a lot to enjoy here if you're a fan of the director.
Yorgos has come a long way since this - I love the Lobster, Sacred Deer and The Favourite and Dogtooth was a great debut ... but I found this very slow and hard work. Glimmers of the following films and definitely original but perhaps best viewed as a work in progress.
Slow burning absurdism from a true auteur. There are lots of deadpan laughs, but sadness at its core. No-one here knows when to let go, whether it's releasing the dead, the living, or the living pretending to be the dead. A perverse and monosyllabic film, some sex, some violence, much strangeness.
Excruciatingly awkward, bizarre interactions, which is a hallmark of Lanthimos in each film to some degree or another. Maybe he takes this on another level in Greek and some of the brilliant dark humour can be lost if you are focussing on the subtitles. This film is very very clever, it reveals little by little and sometimes not at all. Laughed out loud for some parts and squirmed with others. Tough and brilliant.
Masterful in how the film's premise slowly infects our whole interpretation of each of the characters' interactions, whilst this parasitic, paranoiac doubt simultaneously engulfs the fictional characters as well. Aren't we always acting? What if we didn't have to? What if we could be free to actualise?
Sympathy on strictly transactional terms for those in mourning; none for those dealing with difficulties in life. It's a chilly metaphor but one that works well showing that even sympathy can be commoditised and reduced to externals. Empathy? That's just a step too far.
In Alps, a film about four people who inhabit the lives of others, the question of morality—‘is this right or wrong?’—is unimportant. What is important is the correct execution of a function. Perform it wrong, you can be easily replaced. Perform it correctly, and the line between acting and reality quickly disintegrates. A consistent, brutal logic.
Paraphrasing David Lynch, a film should speak for itself, it should be enough by itself, even most when it comes to scripts full of abstractions. Any attempt to make things very clear, ends up ruining the enigmatic aura that circundates the mistery. And that's exactly what Lanthimos did in Alps. There's no explanations about the movie's weirdeness, which situates it in a place circuscripted by its very own universe.
This is how an art movie should be: very but very smart screenplay, convincing actors, a little bit of sex, an original musical score and intellectual provocation all over. in 2011, Yorgos Lanthimos passed the test with honor. Look where he is now! Strongly recommended.
Slight in comparison to the rest of the post-Dogtooth Lanthimos oeuvre, but incredibly fascinating.The slow reveal of the world is effective, and I could easily see myself watching another hour of this or a serialized tv adaptation. Alps gestures towards fascinating ideas about how constant performance impacts perceptions of self and sexuality, and it takes risks that prove emotionally resonant though distressing.