In my rather brief role of LiveWire Critic I have stumbled upon many different types of film ranging from the very good to the average, from the French to the Spanish and many other languages. The film I am about to talk about breaks these conventions. Alps.
To summarise the plot of this unusual film; a gymnast, her coach a paramedic and a nurse join forces to form an organisation they call Alps. Their purpose; to substitute for loved ones recently lost by family members in horrific accidents and earn money by doing so. They must memorise all the details of the person they’re replacing, act like them and re-enact scenarios of their lives. However, soon the nurse begins to falter in her performances and her life takes a downhill turn.
The premise is far fetched but indeed interesting. The cinematography, although not as stunning as say Laurence Anyways is effective in using long lasting shots and blur effects to drive the narrative. The acting may not be amazing, but it’s plausible. So what bugged me the most about Alps?
The pointlessness. After we’ve established what the main characters do and the purpose of their organisation, the film becomes a bore. We are reduced to watching the characters re-enact scenarios acting as people’s former loved ones without any emphasis or effort. It’s real depressing stuff; the gymnast tries to hang herself and the nurses’ role almost degenerates into prostitution as she receives oral pleasure by one of her clients.
The Master may have been lacking much of a point through its two and a half hour running time, yet the strength of the actors and psychological explorations contained within carried the film forward. For a film focusing on psychology, Alps feels as cold as the mountains themselves, and extraordinarily empty.
The sudden ending just adds to the pointlessness.
Review by LiveWire Young Film Critic, Paddy Johnson (December ’12)