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Review: Alps

By PETER KEOUGH  |  October 2, 2012
3.0 3.0 Stars

Like his last feature, Dogtooth, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos's new film breaks down the conventions of identity, language, and social roles with black comic — and tragic — effect. The "Alps" (the meaning of the name is a definition of meaninglessness) are volunteers who have taken it upon themselves to substitute for the deceased in order to comfort grieving survivors. Tell them your loved one's favorite actor, food, and so on, provide some articles of clothing, and one of the Alps will fill in for the dead person, complete with recited dialogue and imitative behavior. The grievers accept the obvious substitutes without comment, and all goes well until one of the members moonlights, secretly working cases on her own. With its long takes, arch editing, and affectless acting (with startling outbreaks of emotion), this latest head scrambler, though cold and remote as befits the title, helps make the case that Lanthimos might be a worthy, more entomological successor to Luis Buñuel.

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