DVD Review: Alyce / Cert: 18 / Director: Jay Lee / Screenplay: Jay Lee / Starring: Jade Dornfield, Tamara Feldman, James Duval, / Release Date: April 30th
Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland story has been through the wringer lately. From Tim Burton’s billion dollar grossing abomination to the baffling Malice in Wonderland, even through some of Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch. Alyce, directed by Jay Lee is the latest attempt to contemporise the classic tale and isn’t quite as successful at what it sets out to do as it should be.
Alyce (Jade Dornfield) is a corporate wage slave with a troubled past who one night descends into drugs and alcohol with her recently dumped best friend Carroll (Tamara Feldman). They are up on the roof of her apartment building literally high as a kite and Alyce accidentally pushes Carroll off the edge. Carroll is mortally wounded but survives; Alyce consumed by guilt descends into a world of drugs, paranoia and eventually murder. All the while she is surrounded by weird urban versions of the characters that appear in the Lewis Carroll story.
Alyce may be a low budget independent film but it looks great, it has kind of a rough sheen to it whilst at the same time evoking the films of Michael Mann. The night time landscape presented is dark and haunting with danger lurking round every corner. The acting is also superb; Jade Dornfield plays the part well coming across as sexy, troubled, vulnerable and psychotic depending on where you are in the story. Dornfield is supported by some great character performances, particularly Eddie Rouse as a Mad Hatter type figure represented as a drug dealer. Also unusual for this type of film is that the dialogue in the script is top notch, there are some cracking monologue’s and brilliant lines that make you believe these are living breathing people trapped in a nightmare.
This film has everything going for it but what holds it back from greatness is the fact that Alyce has almost nothing to say and nowhere to go past the intriguing set up. Early on I thought that this was going to wind up being somehow very clever with something to say about our modern society. Alyce works in a cubicle and her boss is jealous that she is noticed more than her, also in one scene Alyce masturbates to images of the conflict in the Middle East. Interesting scenes loaded with meaning, but what is that meaning?
Any interesting commentary is tossed aside in favour of a last thirty minutes which gets graphic and contains possibly the longest dismemberment scene for a long while. If you like your films violent then you will not be disappointed as Alyce takes revenge and tumbles further down the rabbit hole. The film is very much a case of a missed opportunity but is an enjoyable wallow in the strange nonetheless.
Special Features: None