Movies

Alps

Release Date 09 Nov 2012 09 Apr 2013

  • User rating
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
  • Critic rating
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

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Yorgos Lanthimos's eagerly awaited follow-up to the Oscar nominated Dogtooth is another weird and wonderful exploration of human psychology. A nurse, a paramedic, a gymnast and her coach have formed a service for hire. They stand in for dead people by appointment, hired by the relatives, friends or colleagues of the deceased. The company is called Alps, lead by the demanding disciplinarian Mount Blanc. However Mount Rose, the nurse, fails to live up to his exacting standards and her behaviour with clients becomes increasingly erratic. Serving up another cocktail of black humour, unsettling drama and delicious ambiguity, Lanthimos confirms himself as one of the most exciting emerging directors in world cinema.

Cast:
Stavros Psyllakis | Aris Servetalis | Johnny Vekris | Ariane Labed

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  • Critic rating
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

Movies.ie Critic Review

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ALPS (Greece/IFI/93mins)

Directed by Giorgos Lanthimos. Starring Ariane Labed, Aggeliki Papoulia, Stavros Psyllakis, Aris Servetalis, Johnny Verkis, Erifili Stefanidou.

THE PLOT: Realising that the ties that bind can also trap, four individuals – a gymnast (Lebad), her strict coach (Vekris), a paramedic (Servetalis) and a nurse (Papoulia) – offer a unique service to the recently bereaved; they will pretend to be their dearly departed, wearing their clothes, speaking their words and generally living their lives for a few hours a week.

Such substitution comes at a price though, and not just for the clients, as the four struggle to affirm their own identities, not only within the harsh group – dubbed the Alps by the paramedic, seemingly their leader, because the name “in no way reveals what it is we do” – but also out in the big bad world…

THE VERDICT: As with Lanthimos’ previous offering, 2009’s Dogtooth (which centred around three teenage kids being completely cocooned from the outside world by their parents), Alps is an intoxicating mix of Loach and Lynch. The mundane rubs up against the melancholic madness, and you’re never quite sure where the truth lies. Everyone here, after all, is living a lie, including the clients.

Lanthimos is ultimately letting us know that, as Sight & Sound put it, something is rotten in the state of Greece. Just what it is – and what it means – well, you’re going to have to work that out for yourself. RATING: 4/5

Review by Paul Bynre 

  • Avg User rating
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.

User Reviews

    • Currently 1/5 Stars.

    bmbm

    Confused, unrealistic, nonsensical hogwash...trivializes its subject matter and mercilessly bores the viewer for the first hour with no discernible plot..avoid at all costs

    • Currently 2/5 Stars.

    hegothelips

    . Lanthimos’s films have the quality of latter-day fables and would grip and tantalise over 40 or 50 minutes. At twice that length, their obscene obliqueness must either wear thin or coagulate disappointingly into conventional narrative. Less might be more.

    • Currently 3/5 Stars.

    Amandareid007

    After the failure of his insufferable last film "Dogtooth," Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos refines his minimalist approach to absurdist satire.

    • Currently 2/5 Stars.

    Onionhead

    ALPS is a patchwork piece, nonetheless, Giorgos' one-of-a-kind singularity alone could be singled out as one of the most intriguing and cutting-edge film artist to bring some mondo gratification to cinema nerds.

    • Currently 2/5 Stars.

    mart

    'Alps'. Morbid, absurd and completely messed up. I'm sure there's some deeper meaning on identity waiting to be gleaned, but it became an exercise in the weird for me, and one that I couldn't look past.

    • Currently 2/5 Stars.

    filmbuff2011

    If you've seen Dogtooth, then you'll know what to expect with Alps. If not... well, welcome to the crazy world of Greek director Giorgios Lanthimos. A world where nobody is normal and every character behaves as if they were mentally ill. Or perhaps that's a personal statement on behalf of Lanthimos' own state of mind? The plot, if it can be called that, focuses on a group of people who run a business impersonating the recently deceased for family members left behind. Why anyone would want to engage in such questionable behaviour or even ask someone else to do so is left unanswered. So, instead we're treated to the ridiculous sight of a grown woman playing a teenage girl while her parents scold her for having a boy in her room. What could have been a very moving idea about bereavement and how we humans deal with it is instead lost in a sea of Grecian weirdness that is unfathomable at times. It's not a good film in any sense of the word, but merely a collection of disparate scenes that add up to nothing. Perhaps Lanthimos might want to get a mental health check before he makes his next film...