Two criminals, Vic and Danny, kidnap Alice Creed. They fastidiously set-up an apartment building and handcuff Alice to the bed, all in a careful attempt to make sure that she won't escape and they won't get caught. But what do Vic and Danny really want with Alice? And is Alice cunning enough to foil their plans and escape? Written by
Not many people know this but during a flight to Las Vegas to celebrate my 30th birthday, I actually watched two and a half films. The two complete ones ("The A Team" and "Iron Man 2" if you must know) were made as we cruised over the Canadian wilderness but the half-movie was this one which I was prevented watching fully by two things. Firstly, I was distracted by icy beauty of Greenland and the vast desert emptiness of Nevada and secondly, the movie's graphic nudity would have prompted a sharp dig in the ribs from my wife. Today, alone in the house, I caught up with it again on BBC's iPlayer service and was determined to finish the job this time. A good job I did because this film is about much more than Gemma Arteton's boobs.
The film opens with two former convicts, Danny (Martin Compston) and Vic (Eddie Marsan) quietly and efficiently acquiring the materials to construct a sound-proof cell with a remote house somewhere. Before long, they had kidnapped estranged heiress Alice (Ms Arteton) and have successfully locked her in the cell. After placing the ransom demand with her tycoon father, the two of them simply wait and take turns looking after their hostage. But as is often the case with the simplest of crimes, it doesn't take much to unsteady the ship...
I'm reluctant to give away any more of the story because "The Disappearance Of Alice Creed" is only a small film and needs all the help it can get and spoiling the twists would do it a disservice. And when I say small, I mean it - the cast number is limited to three, the crew is minimal and the budget feels stretched. But sometimes too many cooks spoil the broth and this film feels sharp, tense and atmospheric as a result. The cast are all in fine form - Arteton gives a brave performance as the poor victim (especially given that I associate her with fluff like the wretched "St Trinians" remakes and "Tamara Drewe") and Marsan is always watchable. The key to the film is Compston who I'm not familiar with but might keep an eye out for in future, given that he's equally as good as the others. The plot doesn't give much away and feels pretty slow at times as though director J Blakeson was more interested in filming Ms Arteton's numerous humiliations. It can be an uncomfortable watch at times such as the moment when she needs the toilet whilst still handcuffed to the bed. Without Arteton's convincing portrayal this might have been comical but with it, it is a disturbing scene that left me feeling nauseous and squirming in my sofa.
Torture-porn veterans might think this tame but I felt "The Disappearance Of Alice Creed" to be an effective and enjoyable thriller. The ending feels a little stretched and I would have liked someone else to appear in the movie - a policeman or two - to prevent the movie feeling too claustrophobic. But on the whole, I reckoned I should have watched this on the plane instead of "The A Team" and risked bruised ribs. We Brits seem to do a good job on small budgets and simple stories and the movie almost feels like a play, albeit one written by a rather disturbed individual. Not every thriller needs a car chase or explosions to drive it - a good screenplay or compelling actors can do the job just as well and this movie is one such example. It won't be to everyone's taste but I believe that the movie deserves more attention than it got in the cinemas when it was released.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?