Throuhgout, "Alps" does a neat job of keeping the viewer off-balance. At first, I thought something very sinister was going on due to having watched too many episodes of "The Avengers" when I was growing up but it turns out the cell's well-intentioned with their allowing mourning family members to work through their grief through them. That does not mean that there are not dangers for the characters in this movie, especially considering the extreme emotions in play.
The question about the actors is rather odd at first. One could argue that it is about the kind of performance the customers want; natural, method or scenery chewing?(Heaven help anybody if they say Nicolas Cage.) Or could it be about American culture overwhelming all others? Therefore, the substitutes could be working on developing their own native culture with no other creative outlet in Greece. But at least considering "Alps" and excellent recent Greek movies like "Dogtooth" and "Attenberg," there is certainly a national cinema there to keep an eye out for.
The beautiful looks of the film usually help to bring it up a little due to its shallow narrative, but in the end it is a great example of Yorgos' style and in the same way an example of what can go wrong if all of the parts of th film dont always help each other.
Lanthimos is essentially taking an inverse perspective on what he examined in Dogtooth. In Dogtooth we saw a family struggling to form identities within a false or fake reality.
In Alps, we follow a small group of people hellbent on escaping their own real identity to a fake one. A group of people form a secret society designed to sneak individual into the world of another in a surrealistic approach to the idea of "surrogates"
In Lanthimos' world, as in reality -- any group of more than 3 individuals, there will always be a seemingly inherent need to find ways to express roles of leadership and superiority. This is only one angle of struggle facing these Reality Surrogates.
Humor is dispensed in odd and deadpan manner. When a surrogate expresses her desire to perform a gymnastic number to a popular tune, those who have positioned themselves as "leaders" look at her purely devoted performance with disdain. The leader dismisses her fake reality desire with a harsh judgement: "You're not ready for Pop music!" --- the result is both funny and off-putting.
As desired reality is no longer a satisfying option, one of the members of these recently formed society rebels. This individual is rebelling against the rigid rules of her own society to force her way into the "reality" she desire.
The desire and need for escaping real identity into an unreal one proves to a problematic challenge in more ways than one. Ultimately, the characters are blocked by cultural and society from all angles as the need for rebellion grows.
Giorgos Lanthimos "Alps" is a static, absurd, patchy, surreal, sad, bleak, theatrical and slightly boring dark drama penetrating the psyche of a group of people longing to be loved and fit in. Itīs not a direct film and nor is the message during the first half of the movie. The idea is there of someone impersonating a recently deceased person in order to help a family for example through the grieving process, but Lanthimos handles the topic in such an "arty farty smarty pants" way it falls on itīs own legs when he simply refuses to invite you to at least build some sort of understanding of the film in my opinion. I dislike the fact that he use way too many prolonged silent static scenes killing the dynamics that shines through at times. However, I do think that that actors are truly convincing in their roles, specially the leading actress Aggeliki Papoulia.
This is a horrifically strange movie. This movie is purely absurd and just begs to question the sanity of the people involved.
A movie about a four deranged individuals who help some family find closure by literally pretending to be their deceased family members.
The acting, the visuals, and the voice acting is so rigid and stiff that it makes wood bend. I even had to walk out of this movie halfway done. I can't stand another minute of it.
In short, I hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated it.
0 out of 10.