I was about to write 'the much anticipated Alps…' but then I thought, 'Much anticipated by whom?' Maybe by those who saw Georgios Lanthimos's last film, the beautifully bizarre and original Oscar-nominated Dogtooth, would be interested. That small number will like but not love his latest, however. Alps boasts another great idea but little of Dogtooth's power.
loose group of gymnasts, trainers and nurses are involved in a strange business: they approach the relatives of the recently deceased and offer themselves as a replacement. For a couple of hours every other day they will turn up and play the part of their dead son/daughter/lover or whoever it may be. The first few 'sessions' are free. However, the more roles nurse Aggeliki Papoulia plays she finds her own personality has suffered to such an extent that she doesn’t know who she is anymore…
ike Dogtooth, Alps plays a guessing game with the audience: who is who and what they are up to is kept hidden from the viewer, which deliberately creates confusion and a sense of unease. The framing once again is odd – Lanthimos will shoot from the back of someone's head or partially obscure faces. It's all part of creating an otherworldly atmosphere, a place where the bereaved would contemplate paying someone to impersonate a deceased loved one. This is what Lanthimos is after, but he doesn't achieve it. Whereas Dogtooth stretched believability, it could pass off the idea that a nutty couple could conceivably raise their three children in total isolation, but because Alps takes place in the open streets of Athens stretches credibility. No one points out the absurd nature of the business.
anthimos's originality and air of menace is once again present and the writer-director has enough here to show he'll make better films but the lack of connection to anything happening on screen is Alps’ undoing.