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An American law student in London. Knocked down by a black cab, she wakes with amnesia in a world that's a million miles from home - Wonderland. We follow her adventures as she's dragged through an underworld filled with twisted individuals and the lowest low-lifers, by the enigmatic cab driver, Whitey. She needs to find out who she is, where she's from and use what wits she has left to get back home in one piece. As her journey progresses she discovers nothing is what it seems, realizes that fate and life are terminally entwined, and finds true love lurking in the unlikeliest place.Written by
It seems financially viable to release this now and an oversight not to, even if it is straight to DVD. With only a few short weeks until the release of Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland, anything bearing roughly the same name or subject matter is likely to gain more interest that it would do under normal circumstances. Lewis Carroll's version of Wonderland (and Alice, come to that) is altogether different here, however. This Simon Fellows directed version of the well-loved tale takes one step firmly to the dark side of humanity, edging further away from fantasy than either Lewis Carroll or Burton's interpretation of Carroll's undoubted masterpiece.
Simon Fellows gathers an eclectic cast ensemble and seems to have read through the story of Alice and then cherry-picked scenes that suit his cinematic vision and then chopped them together. Really, this boils down to two or three set pieces that make some sort of cohesive sense, with the rest just filler in-between. For all that, however, there are genuinely, but rare enjoyable moments throughout.
I'm not known for being a Danny Dyer fan, and still remain as unimpressed by him on the whole as I was before, having only been able to admire one of his delivered lines throughout the entire film. Maggie Grace plays the part of Alice, a poor little rich girl that has lost her memory after being knocked over by Whitey's (Dyer) taxi. Sounds a world away from the usual fantasy fare, right? Well this version of Alice In Wonderland is set in modern day inner city. The White Rabbit is a taxi driver who is off to buy a cake and is very late for the party, Tweedledum and Tweedledee are both club doormen and stealing tarts in this movie is driving off in an eighteen wheeler with a collection of hookers in the back. An unusual take on the literary work, and if I'm brutally honest, more than a little bit of a mess.
The entire movie feels cluttered, unkempt and sprawling. This never feels like a fantasy, more the intermittent recollections of a hallucinating girl on a one night class A bender. It never feels magical nor enchanting or indeed any element that the original work instilled in its reader.
It would be fair to suggest that this is not at all what Felllows had wanted to do with the film, but then you do have to ask, just what was it that he was trying to achieve? From what he has delivered here, it is not easy to tell, apart from a simple circular tale that could have been about anything, at anytime, anywhere. If so, then why base it on a well loved children's fable? (See paragraph one)
The acting is roundly awful by the main players. Dyer is famous for his usually overtly violent films that require him to shout a lot, point angry fingers and throw his fists about and Grace is as wooden as another well loved children's character. Some credibility comes in the form of Pam Ferris, Fiona O'Shaughnessy, Matt King and Nathaniel Parker in their own oddly created cameos, but none make enough of an appearance throughout to save this film from its rightful place in the bowels of DVD purgatory.
In summary, avoid this if you have the option. If you have to sit through it, I'd pay it the attention it deserves and make sure you have a book handy, or if you are of an hallucinogenic bent, you may find this riveting after you have dropped a tab. I would never suggest illegal drug-taking for recreation, but really, you will need more than just your brain, ears and patience to get to the end of it.
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