HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
Beats
Body Parts
Shock of the Future, The
Friday
   
 
Newest Articles
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
   
 
  Alphaville You Can't Compute EmotionBuy this film here.
Year: 1965
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Akim Tamiroff, Howard Vernon, Valérie Boisgel, Jean-Louis Comolli, Michel Delahaye, Jean-André Fieschi, Christa Lang, Jean-Pierre Léaud, László Szabó
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Secret agent and detective Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) has travelled through time and dimensions in space to reach the city of Alphaville, which is in the grip of a machine overlord named Alpha 60. This computer tells every one of the populace what to think, but Lemmy believes there happens to be someone behind its monolithic facade, and he is the mysterious von Braun (Howard Vernon). But how to get to this man? The sleuth has taken a room in this hotel and after negotiating with the so-called seductress assigned to him, he is attacked - seems someone knows he's here.

Of course, when you attack someone like Lemmy Caution, you get your arse handed back to you, as many of those watching this film in the sixties would have been well aware for he was a popular pulp fiction character in Europe which Constantine had portrayed in a selection of thrillers since the early fifties. The star was ideal for the role, with his granite features and brutal air, which made him all the more intriguing for being cast in the same persona for a science fiction movie made by the New Wave Auteur's New Wave Auteur, Jean-Luc Godard; naturally, this was no ordinary science fiction flick.

Godard was implementing the form to say something about the way he thought society would progress in the future, and indeed how it had become in the present, nothing new in taking a dystopian view of the genre, but Alphaville was one of the movies which led to sci-fi being taken seriously as an artform rather than something to read in paperbacks on the train or to divert children via the latest space opera or big bug epic. This also was not anything too fresh, as there had been major minds contemplating the world through this style for decades, but the appeal here was to see what an iconic filmmaker like Godard would do with it.

Many have observed that he simply reheated notions that were already hackneyed by 1965, but his use of Caution, and his acknowledgement that he was using what might be described as trash fiction to make serious points, offered up an intriguing tension onscreen. In its method, Alphaville was almost the anti-Kiss Me Deadly; where Robert Aldrich had used the Mike Hammer character to demolish and destroy intelligence while slyly sending him up for doing so, Godard used Caution as a liberator from too much ordered thinking, and even going as far as teaching one of the city's most constrained inhabitants, von Braun's daughter Natacha (Anna Karina), how to love.

What seemed revolutionary at the time may have been born out of budget necessity: setting the film of the future in the Paris of the mid-sixties and practically daring the audience not to accept that it was truly a location in another dimension. Godard did this by taking the seedy aspects of your usual low rent crime thrillers - dingy hotels, prostitutes, double crossers - and placing them in the same milieu as the modernistic buildings constructed of glass and metal that represented Alpha 60's idea of what an ordered society should be. Language and its regulation is the most obvious instance of that, with the dictionary as Bible, the words like "conscience" being erased and meanings twisted, Orwellian fashion.

There are many examples of a fascistic mindset which the unlikely figure of Caution grows to lead a revolution against (a two-person revolution, but nevertheless), such as the secret police who kidnap him for interrogations or the state executions bizarrely staged with synchronised swimmers, but the intention was less to see the audience intimidated by the hyper-controlling government and more think of human reasons to shake off its shackles. Idealistic, perhaps, and Alpha 60's voice could have been easier on the ear as it sounds like the voiceover actor has downed a two litre bottle of cola and is belching his lines accordingly which leads to accusations of a constantly threatening monotony, but a very individual take for all that. Alphaville's legacy would be more for the genre it toyed with than much else, but its genuinely alien tone, a tone it tries to discard the more it goes on, was worth experiencing. Music by Paul Misraki.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3081 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: