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DVD Review

DVD cover

Malice in Wonderland


Starring: Maggie Grace, Danny Dyer, Matt King, Bronagh Gallagher, Paul Kaye, Pam Ferris and Nathaniel Parker
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 08 February 2010

When beautiful American law student Alice is knocked down by a black cab on a deserted London street it’s just the start of her problems. Miles from home and relentlessly pursued by a shadowy group intent on taking her captive, she begins a dark and dangerous journey through a violent underworld full of gangsters, geezers, pimps and prostitutes. With only enigmatic cab driver Whitey to guide her, she soon finds that the only way out is to fight for her freedom. As both fists and bullets begin to fly, Whitey and Alice soon find that in a world where nothing is as it seems, their only hope is to turn the tables on those who want to hunt them down...

Malice in Wonderland is a modern, and rather interesting, take on Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. For those that are intimate with the original book, there will be lots here to make you smile as the script, by Jayson Rothwell, puts an interesting slant on the original.

Alice is in London on a personal quest, but is knocked down by London cab driver Whitey (representing the White Rabbit of the book). He's late for a very important date - he has to pick up a gift for the recently released from prison gangster Harry Hunt (the Queen of Hearts). Whitey puts Alice in the back of his cab and together the two head off into Wonderland.

I was initially sceptical about this movie. I really wasn't interested in seeing yet another interpretation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of movies that use the book as a leaping off point (including The Matrix, Labyrinth and Pan's Labyrinth) and I really couldn't imagine this film bringing anything new to the table. How wrong was I? This movie contains so many clever twists that it's like discovering the original for the first time. Although, I have to admit that I never really enjoyed the original book. I've always found it way too creepy and disjointed - more a collection of odd and rather stupid events strung together in a haphazard fashion. Malice in Wonderland, however, takes the book's main characters and drops them straight into modern day London (or more precisely a place detached from reality between London and Wonderland).

The acting is universally good, with Shannon Rutherford (Lost) as Alice and Danny Dyer as Whitey being incredibly well cast. Also worthy of note is the fact that Hunt is played by Nathaniel Parker (better known for playing Inspector Lynley in The Inspector Lynley Mysteries) who does an exceptional job and is truly inspired casting.

The movie flirts with danger in its emotional scenes - particularly the closing segment - as this is the only time I was worried that everything would descend into cheesy dialogue and over the top sentimentality. Thankfully, and just by the skin of its teeth, the production manages to stay just this side of tasteful.

The only extra on the disc is The Making of Malice in Wonderland (10 mins) which interviews cast and crew as well as showing some behind the scenes footage.


Darren Rea

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