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Malice in Wonderland (2009) - Film Review

The 2009 film MALICE IN WONDERLAND, written by Jayson Rothwell and directed by Simon Fellows takes us on a maniacal spin down the rabbit hole into the underbelly of London. There are many nods and winks towards Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland but don’t let that fool you. Here stealing the tarts means nicking an eighteen wheeler full of prostitutes!! The film is very strange but also a little infectious; it has a madness about it which borders on annoying. A modern take on a classic tale where unfortunately the fantasy and enchantment was lost in translation, and what replaces it is freakishly bizarre. I’m sure that this was the intention and some viewers will love it. For me though, I felt like I was a nasty hallucinogenic trip and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Alice (Maggie Grace) is knocked down by Whitey (Danny Dyer), a London cabbie and suffers amnesia as a result. In her quest for answers she pill-pops her way from one weird scenario to
another. The characters are the same as in Alice, but with a twist! (Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee are now doormen and the white rabbit is a cabbie). Everything about Malice in Wonderland is strange, but something compels us to keep watching, maybe it is the unspoken promise that it’s gonna be worth it eventually!? The acting was more than adequate and I did find myself caring what happened to Alice and Whitey and this helped keep my finger off the eject button.

Malice in Wonderland is a fast-paced, bizarre and disorienting trip. Along the way we meet gangsters, prostitutes, and criminals, the worst that society has to offer. The direction works superbly with the story and the musical score and together they give a feeling of confusion and dizziness that you will either love or hate.

Although this film was not for me, I did appreciate it as a very interesting piece of cinematography - but as for sitting down to a good movie? I’m afraid that unspoken promise of things to come never quite paid off. Despite the fact that I am glad I’ve seen it, I certainly won’t be recommending it to anyone unless I know they have a taste for the quirky and strange. In the end, it was all just a little too peculiar.

MALICE IN WONDERLAND (2009). Director: Simon Fellows. Writer: Jayson Rothwell. Cast: Maggie Dyer, Danny Dyer, Matt King, Nathaniel Parker, Bronagh Gallagher, Anthony Higgins, Steve Haze, Dave Lynn, Gary Beadle, Amanda Boxer.

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