Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3/5
Much like Alice in Wonderland, Losing Alice banks on its viewers getting lost down the rabbit hole. With a neon-noir feel and a gritty, erotic undertone, this Israeli production is nothing short of ambitious. That ambitiousness unfortunately doesn’t always translate across to the small screen in a compelling way, but it does make for a unique series nonetheless.
In fact, the opening scene to the first episode is easily one of the most mysterious and gripping this year, second only to Spanish horror thriller 30 Coins. This sequence ultimately sets the tone and mood of the series, as we see a young girl enter a hotel with balloons in hand.
Skipping across to the hotel room, a gunshot shatters this dreamy sequence and sends us crashing back to the present. It’s here where Losing Alice starts to have fun with its concept, skipping back and forth between flashbacks and flash forwards, while spending the bulk of its time in the linear present-day drama sandwiched between these two timelines.
Despite its time skipping premise, the story here is pretty grounded and revolves around a successful Director called Alice. Unfortunately, she gets caught up in a dysfunctional love triangle. Love may be a bit of a stretch but this erotic thriller certainly plays on ideas of lust, obsession and love, with a specific desire to blur the line between these three states.
This ultimately forms the crux of the series, as we explore Alice’s relationship with her husband David. They appear to have the idyllic relationship too, and between kids, successful careers and a big house, it falls to femme fatale Sophie to get involved and break this happy family up.
Armed with a killer screenplay, enthusiastic Sophie approaches Alice on a train and begs her to get involved in the project. A reluctant yes eventually opens the door for Sophie to quickly entrap Alice’s whole family in her web of lies, deceit and mystery. At least, according to Alice that’s what she’s trying to do.
The series cleverly keeps you at arm’s length, leaving you to question who’s telling the truth and who’s not, with Alice’s mental state called into question more than a few times. There’s even some sequences that see Alice’s mental state bleed over into the visuals, with some hallucinatory images and visually pleasing segments to boot.
When it comes to artistry, Director Sigal Avin flexes his arthouse influences here to deliver some delightfully hedonistic moments. Whether it be the aforementioned opening scene or the multiple close-up shots of Alice’s confused or paranoid face, there’s a deliberate desire to keep things as eerie and uneasy as possible.
Some of this is helped by an abundance of neon lights and visuals, that bathe the sets with large, ominous shadows. This use of colour and lighting also allows for the show to blur the lines between genres it steps into too. There’s elements of an erotic thriller, psychological horror and slice of life drama played out here, but tonally it doesn’t always work.
In fact, this medley of influences makes Losing Alice a bit of a mixed bag, with an equal dose of middling mediocrity alongside some of the more brilliant and tense segments. This certainly won’t be a show for everyone and between an excellent opening and closing episode, Losing Alice does tend to lose itself in the mundanity of the day-to-day grind for these characters.
That is ultimately the biggest problem with Losing Alice. For all of its clever artistry and hedonistic imagery, there’s no getting around the fact that some episodes just aren’t that interesting. This is a show that borders on bland at times and some of these moments could so easily have been cut to tighten up the pacing.
There’s a certain amount of patience you need to have with this one to see the surprising conclusion but Losing Alice certainly makes that job harder than it should be.
With a tighter 6-episode run-time and some of the fluff cut out, Losing Alice could easily have been one of the better thrillers released this year. Instead, this Israeli series is not quite the must-watch it sets itself up to be, but it is an interesting and artistic project that’s easy to get lost in nonetheless.