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  • 18
  • Thriller
  • 2009

The Disappearance Of Alice Creed

The Disappearance Of Alice Creed

Synopsis

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

About

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, Martin Compston, Gemma Arterton
  • 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

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