malice-in-wonderland051109Details

Directed by Simon Fellows, screenplay written by Jayson Rothwell. Cast includes: Maggie Grace (Alice), Danny Dyer (Whitey), Matt King (Gonzo), Nathaniel Parker (Harry Hunt), Bronagh Gallagher (Hattie), Anthony Higgins (Rex), Steve Haze (Midge), Dave Lynn (Jack / Jacqui), Gary Beadle (DJ Felix Chester), Amanda Boxer (Bag Lady), Garrick Hagon (Mr. Dodgson), Paul Kaye (Caterpillar), Alan Mckenna (Griffin). Running time:  87 minutes.

 

 

 

Plot

Alice is an American student who has gone to London to study law and (as we learn later to solve one of the darker secret of her past). One night she tries to escape two eerie guys that are trying to follow her. Why we don’t know. Just as she tries to escape them she's bumping into the taxi of Whitey, a somewhat crazy cabby who always seems to be on the run.

As Alice seems to be unhurt, but a bit less orientated than usual, Whitey puts her on the backseat of his taxi and rushes off into the night with her. He has a deadline (kindly do note the word DEAD please) to meet, he’s sort of short on his nerves. He is a late already and Alice means more trouble than he could use right now. As Alice suffers from a serious headache and doesn't seem to remember anything, Whitey hands some ”medication” to her. Which arguably helps making the night even more peculiar than anything ever she has ever experienced before. Nothing is what is seems from this moment on, Alice encounters mental flashbacks and physical set-backs at the same time.

The plot actually retells the well-known story of Alice in Wonderland, but this time with a very grown-up (or shall I say updated?) and a tad drugged and uncanny twist. Whitey and Alice meet all sorts of strange forks, funny and sometimes dangerous situations and in the end, just like in the good old fairy tale everything turns out for the best. It is a mind-boggling trip through a very gloomy night and in their characters pitch-black creatures. We are in fact - so to speak - travelling through the sub-consciousness of young Alice.

Review

This is a surreal trip through the wonders of a different kind of nightlife of London. Actually Alice is on the way of finding herself, her dreams, her desires and her destination. It is a very modern and free interpretation of the classic fairy tale. It is also highly stylised in photography and design. Be warned, it's nothing for folks who prefer to have a mainstream version of Lewis Carroll's tale.

The subversive and anarchic style of the movie pics up the original tone this tale always had – it wasn't meant for children at all. This tale’s intention is to irritate you to the utmost degree. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the "literary nonsense" genre and its narrative course and structure have been enormously influential, especially in the fantasy genre. Carroll introduces you to the most peculiar and anthropomorphic creatures. The story is also filled with allusions. As irritating the impression on his fellow men must have been in the past, this movie irritates us with its modern means today.

The film has an ambitious underlying idea, and taking into account that it had a low budget it is a wonderful experience watching it. It is a real insiders’ tip for everyone who likes to think beyond the borders of boring reality or mainstream Hollywood movies. It isn’t a straightforward story so to speak. Anyone who expects this sort of thing should stay away from it.

Sharply after the first real-life scenes you get a sense of the whole wildish, genuine mood, that is due to the mental state of Alice, but also the trip of an American, who finds herself surrounded by the strangest of human beings and the most awkward places to be. It is a trip in the real sense of the word.

The whole movie has the feel of being under trance to it. Maggie Grace is a real treat as Alice. One feels that she needs to be protected and everybody wishes her safety in Wonderland. She feels natural, a real sympathetic performance. Although she is strong, yet one feels that she can be hurt any time. Danny Dyer is Whitey, the reluctant hero, who tries to steal himself out of our perception that he is the saviour of Alice. He is her guide and becomes her friend, as well as he lets her down as he shows more interest in saving his own life and conveniently making a quick buck.

He has to overcome his own ego trip, to be able to help Alice and to gain her heart. The chemistry between them is great and it adds a real bonus to the film. The whole setting of the movie, the way it is constructed and the way we are being sucked into it has a very genuine and nice feel, which all comes to a good conclusion in a likeable and humane end of the movie.

Although we recognize some of the most well-known characters of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, it is useless to draw any unnecessary comparisons with the original story. The story we find ourselves in right here is self-supporting and only the original story’s matrix remains as the films narrative unfolds.

Please don't search for any logic in this movie, for there is none. Let yourself go. Admit to the fact that you are on an adventurous trip that evokes some dreamingly notions. Malice in Wonderland is magically real and in the wonderland of dreams it gets bonus points!

Net review

Nat plays Harry Hunt, one of the strangest characters he's ever done. He is a wonderful mixture of gentlemanly kindness and gangsterly cruelness. Needless to say that Harry Hunt is an analogy to the “King and Queen” of the original tale. Harry has just been released from prison. In there he has picked up some nasty habits that just don’t add to make him more sympathetic than he must have been before he was locked in. He is an utterly unpredictable gangster boss and he expects everybody to do as he says or even better anticipate what he wants in about 60 seconds from the moment you start talking to him... Please do take note of the presents he receives, it’s a hoot!

Since Alice doesn't give a damn about him nor his notorious wishes, you can observe Nat (as Harry) being torn between having a nice blonde girl beside him and at the same time having a huge problem with her by his side. Wicked! He is evil, he is weird and he’s not from this world, really. It’s really a sight to see how Nat breathes the sheer craziness of this character and this movie. Me, myself and I - but worth seeing them three all together in one character!

 

Status

Out on DVD in the UK and the USA

 

 

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