Reverse Antebellum meets The Village in Krystin Ver Linden’s feature debut Alice, a film that feels like we’ve seen it all before.
Enslaved Alice (Keke Palmer) flees the plantation which she has spent her life on to escape its owner (Johnny Lee Miller), coming to discover the the year is actually 1973. This story of one woman’s discovery of Black liberation and revenge sadly lacks a punch. Palmer gives a solid performance, especially in the more emotional scenes that require her to truly flex her range, but the rest of the cast fades to the background. Common, here playing a Black activist who has become discouraged about the movement, lacks the vigor and intensity we’ve come to expect from him. Miller similarly is scarcely used and follows expected beats when on screen.
Linden both wrote and directed Alice, a fine outing that simply needed more. Visually the film is well-executed and the story, however lacking, is contained. If it didn’t seem so familiar and without a unique meaning, it would be a standout. Instead, it’s a disappointment.
Photo from Sundance