Review: The Disappearance of Alice Creed
The Disappearance of Alice Creed is the sort of modest little thriller that is impossible to get made here in the states. Luckily, we can always look elsewhere for our fill of these types of films. A lot of them come from the land down under, but this one comes courtesy of the U.K. The entire movie revolves around just three characters and the majority of the movie takes place in a tiny sound-proof building, giving it a very claustrophobic and intimate feel.
The movie is set up as a basic kidnapping story, with the two kidnappers (Martin Compston and Eddie Marsan) hoping to get a wealth of ransom money from the father of their abductee (Gemma Arterton). Naturally, this is a movie so things don’t go according to plan. It is also to be expected that there are at least a few twists in the story, but I was still admittedly caught off guard by them.
The acting needs to be great for a film like this to work. It is, and it does. Compston, who is the more sensitive of the two kidnappers, is like the U.K.’s answer to Edward Norton and you’ll probably recognize the convincingly intimidating Marsan from his role in Sherlock Holmes. We’ve seen Arterton as the eye candy in movies like Quantum of Solace and Clash of the Titans, but she shows here that she’s capable of so much more. These actors deliver a trifecta of riveting performances. One of the most fascinating things about the film is the way the power shifts between these three characters throughout the course of the film. It’s a bit like the recent Unthinkable in that regard.
If I had one complaint, it would be that it is almost too brightly lit. It’s a minor qualm, but I find the darker noir-style lighting more appropriate for this type of film. I dug the score, the camera work was simple yet effective, and writer/director J Blakeson does a nice job of getting the viewer emotionally invested and getting them to actually care about the characters.
It’s hard to believe this is Blakeson’s first feature. More than anything else it brings to mind Bound and Blood Simple, the respective debuts of the Wachowski and Coen siblings. It is every bit as gripping and intense as those pictures, and I don’t see how you couldn’t remain engaged through every twist and turn.
Alice Creed is now out in a limited release of something like 12 theaters, but it’s also available On Demand for $6.99. It’s well worth your time and money.
RIYL: Hard Candy, Bound, Blood Simple.