This was the final film I saw at this year’s MIFF and sadly it wasn’t the best film to go out on. “Alps” is the new film from Greek filmmaker Giorgos Lanthimos who previously made the controversial but much loved “Dogtooth” back in 2009.
“Alps” is about a group of people who come together to create a business where they are hired by the family of the recently deceased to impersonate their loved ones who have just passed to make the grieving process easier to handle. They are given personal belongings from the family and lines to say to make it seem more realistic for them. Things are going well with the business until one of the women becomes too involved with the family she is working for.
The problem for me with “Alps” was that I could not buy into the ridiculous concept of the film at all. I couldn’t understand how anyone would want someone pretending to be a family member they have just lost. It seemed so insensitive and this group was exploiting the pain and loss from these poor people. If I cannot believe in the concept then it makes it hard to react positively towards the film as well, which I didn’t. I also felt that Lanthimos had no idea what he wanted to do with the idea because he does not take it anywhere dramatically interesting. It is a major disappointment.
Performances are all very average too but this is also due to the structure of the premise because these people are paid to say certain lines, and the delivery of these lines are very stilted as some of them are delivered in English. Even Ariane Labed who I thought was fantastic in “Attenberg” last year is poor here although I loved the scenes of her rhythmic gymnastics she performs. I know that Labed during the making of “Attneberg” didn’t speak Greek so had to learn her lines phonetically, so I wonder if the same happened here.
Even from a visual standpoint I found “Alps” to be very disappointing. There was no style whatsoever in regards to the shooting style and it was just ugly to look at.
I really do not have much to say about “Alps” except that I did not understand the point of it at all and I’m not sure director Giorgos Lanthimos really knew what he wanted to do with it either. Unfortunately it was not a good way to end this year’s MIFF on.