Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 18
  • Thriller
  • 2009

The Disappearance Of Alice Creed

The Disappearance Of Alice Creed


Two ex-cons kidnap the daughter of a rich businessman with the intention of running off with the ransom money


If ever there was a film to make you wish talking in cinemas was acceptable, it's The Disappearance Of Alice Creed. The plot winds its way through so many twists and surprises its near impossible not to continuously elbow the person sat next to second-guess what's coming up. This also makes it quite a difficult film to describe without giving much of the plot away, which is a shame as it's the twists that make this thriller worth watching. Both plot and the film's quality hop and skip about to an unexpected rhythm.

The opening sequence is one of the more impressive in British cinema for a good while. Without any dialogue, save the screams of Alice Creed, the first ten minutes sets out the situation brilliantly. Two men, Danny and Vic, kidnap a girl (Gemma Arterton), tie her naked to a bed and take photos of her. In the silence you're never sure what the men are thinking or aiming for, which makes for great drama.

The two men, it emerges, are ex-cons who shared a cell in prison. 'Inside' they cooked up a plan to kidnap a rich girl, hold her ransom and jet off to some paradise to start a new life. Eddie Marsan as Vic, the older of the two ex-cons and the operations mastermind, is as brilliant as always. Despite Vic's fondness for sinister plots, it's hard not to warm to his simple nature and dreams of a better life. Full of past regrets and nothing to live for, his dreams of new beginnings make him quite endearing. In contrast, the younger Danny (Martin Compston) is less wedded to Vic's plan. His capricious behaviour makes it difficult to tell when hes being sincere, childish, brainwashed or just lying.

Having only a cast of three actors throughout the entire film makes for a theatrical spectacle, blended with cinematic sensibilities. Yet with such a strong and expressive set of actors, the script is a disappointing let-down when the characters do actually speak. Many of the lines seem to be lifted from Tarantino's cutting room floor, and have a corniness that distracts from the tension that's built up. Much of the tension is generated by what the characters don't say; guessing their own individual motivations under a highly pressurised and traumatic situation creates splendid suspense.

In addition to the multitude of twists, the film strains the audience's suspension of disbelief on a number of sticky questions. How do they get a screaming woman up a block of flats in broad daylight without raising suspicion? Is Eddie Marsan really that undistinguishable in a balaclava? Where did they get all the money for all the equipment? Couldnt they have just gone away with that?

There's a Shallow Grave feel to the ending, which is frustratingly foreseeable. Mainly because the character you're supposed to be rooting for appears at odds with who you're actually rooting for. As going into detail would give too much away, we'll just have to remain silent, which in this case is probably for the best...

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Eddie Marsan, Gemma Arterton, Martin Compston
  • Director: J Blakeson
  • Writer: J Blakeson
  • Producer: Adrian Sturges
  • Photographer: Philipp Blaubach

In a nutshell

An enjoyable and original ransom plot thriller with as many twists and turns as a warped slinky. Will keep you guessing, so long as you can ignore the clumsy dialogue.

by Simon Jablonski

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4


    Katell Quillévéré's family-based drama follows Suzanne, a teenage mother who falls for a gangster

  • Film4

    The Purge

    Ethan Hawke stars in James DeMonaco's drama about a sanctioned night where all crime is legal

  • Film4

    Me and You on Film4

    Premiere of Bernardo Bertoluccis drama about a boy and his half-sister who run away together.

  • Film4

    Philadelphia on Film4

    Denzel Washington and Oscar-winning Tom Hanks star in Jonathan Demme's powerful drama.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    BIFA brings 2015 nominated films to cinemas

    BIFA-nominated films including the Film4-backed 45 Years, The Lobster, Macbeth, Amy and Ex Machina will be available in cinemas nationwide from 23 November in a special public screenings event. The

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Film4-backed films receive 41 nominations at the BIFAs

    Film4 has received a total of 41 nominations for the films it has backed at this year¿s British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs), with the nomination lists for the Best British Film and Best Director a

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register