Someday, every possible interpretation of Lewis Carroll
’s “Alice in Wonderland”
will be made into a film. It’s like string theory except I’m not even talking about in parallel universes, but right here in our own. Just in the last three months I think I’ve received about ten different takes on the story to watch but the only one that caught my eye was this updated version with Lost
’s Maggie Grace
as the girl lost in Wonderland. Or something. Hell, I have no idea, really. Let me put it this way: she keeps taking hallucinogenic drugs throughout the film and they have the expected result. Which we see. I’m thinking the director, Simon Fellows
, was trying to tell his audience something. Like maybe, the only way to figure out what the hell is going on is to do the same.Alice
is an American in London, who is frantically running away from two mysterious men when she is knocked over by a cab. The cabbie, Whitey
), is late for something or other so he puts her in the back of his cab and keeps going. When Alice
comes to, she’s got amnesia (like folks in tv and movies are wont to do with distressing frequency). Whitey
gives her a bottle of pills labeled only “For your head”
that, aside from causing some degree of hallucinating, seem to provide little pieces of the ‘who is she’
puzzle each time she takes them. Her trip...and I mean trip
...through an odd criminal world with drug addicts, dealers, pimps, prostitutes, and crime bosses is hampered by a ten million dollar reward that is posted for her by her billionaire father...but does he want to find her out of love or is there something more nefarious afoot?
“Malice in Wonderland”
never really answers the questions it poses. In fact, it careens so wildly off the rails of its initial plot, that there’s no recovery even possible. A story about a missing identity becomes about the larger issues of identity and somehow turns into a hunt for a birth mother...I have no idea how that happened. But, I suspect, neither does the filmmakers. Certainly their bizarro time-twisty ending that comes out of nowhere seems made up on the fly. I wish I could say there’s some deeper meaning here, but if so, it managed to elude me.
manages to perfectly mirror Carroll
’s world in its sleazy underworld characters, but more often than not, deciphering who is supposed to represent who from the original story is more of a headache than it’s worth. Even when you can tell, it gets old and plain gratuitous pretty quickly. Whitey
’s White Rabbit
analogue is irritatingly forced, but the DJ Cheshire Cat
and the gay crime lord version of the King of Hearts
manage to at least temporarily make the film jell entertainingly with its original inspiration. Briefly. Enough at least to give a minor thrill for 'Alice' fans rooting about for clever touchstones. For whatever that's worth.
is a stoner cult film in search of an audience, but it’s not nearly as clever as it thinks it is. The film echoes the mantra, ‘Circles. Circles. We all move in circles.’
and it certainly tries to echo that, but its circles are incomplete. The audience is assured that their voyage has come 'round, but with no evidence to suggest that it was much of a trip at all. Other than a poor excuse for an acid trip. Even as fan of this kind of drug-addled film making, I can’t say that there's much memorable to "Malice"
. It's got a 'made for tv'
vibe to it so you'll probably be better off just catching it on Netflix
the next time a caterpillar comes to the party offering you a piece of his mushroom.
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