The fourth feature from Greek writer/director Giorgos Lanthimos is an intriguing work centred around a group of people who substitute themselves for the recently deceased in order to help people with the grieving process. Don’t expect any more plot details than that – not much more can be said without letting out some major spoilers.
A word of warning, Alps is an incredibly dark film, there are moments of comedy to be found but how much you will appreciate these is dependent on your appreciation of black comedy as even as dark comedic films go, Alps is pitch black and certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste.
Whilst it’s undoubtedly an interesting concept, the film is a little too vague for the first half in actually giving the audience an idea of what is going on. It is not clear until the midpoint exactly what the characters are up to and in fact what the Alps group stands for or does. A little more clarity wouldn’t have gone amiss early on which have helped to develop the characters more clearly.
On that subject, there are number of interesting characters on display here so it seems odd to have left a number of them underdeveloped, more time spent with the group’s leader, Mount Blanc, would have definitely given the film a little more depth and perhaps helped deliver the film’s message in a more succinct way. The main character is fleshed out well enough and it’s here that Aggeliki Papoulia gives the standout performance of the film; it’s carefully nuanced, well balanced and shows once again why she is a talent to keep an eye on.
Whilst it may not be as compulsive as its predecessor, Alps is certainly as well shot. Like Dogtooth, visually the film is fantastic, beautifully framed and shot from start to finish. It’s evident than Lanthimos has an eye for visuals and this bodes well coming from a director that is still relatively young.
Overall it’s an interesting film and, although it’s a little disappointing (coming in the wake of its predecessor), it’s still worth a watch. It’s just a shame the first half of the film isn’t more engaging, had that been the case then Alps could have been something quite special.
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