The Disappearance of Alice Creed

Film, Thrillers
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(10user reviews)
Young British screenwriter J Blakeson, co-writer of ‘The Descent: Part Two’ and the director of two well-regarded shorts, shoots his own script for his feature debut and comes up with an intense, surprising three-hander about a kidnapping. There are hints of ‘Sleuth’ in this low-budget affair: the claustrophobic energy, the small cast, the wordplay, the single location and the power games driven by sex and sexuality. The set-up is simple: two men, one ruthless with a hair-trigger temper (Eddie Marsan), one more submissive (Martin Compston), kidnap Alice (Gemma Arterton), the daughter of a businessman, lock her in a derelict flat and threaten to kill her unless a ransom is paid. Bar an early, effective montage of the kidnappers’ preparations and the film’s bloody close, the story unfolds in Alice’s grotty, makeshift cell and concerns itself with the shifting relationships and loyalties of its three protagonists.

Some might feel we’re in titillating FHM territory at the sight of Bond girl Arterton tied to a bed and writhing around in her underwear, but all hints of exploitation are thankfully just that. The superior acting from Arterton, Marsan and Compston, combined with Blakeson’s resourceful and focused direction, force through a sometimes awkward plot and rescue the film from a middle section that looks to be heading for a brick wall. The success of the film is in the detail: we watch as hostage and kidnapper negotiate the difficulties of a captive going to the toilet and feel the tension as a bullet refuses to travel round the U-bend. Arterton gives it her all, while Marsan mines a seam of rage familiar from ‘Happy-Go-Lucky’.

By: Dave Calhoun


Release details

Release date:
Friday April 30 2010
98 mins

Cast and crew

J Blakeson
Gemma Arterton
Eddie Marsan
Martin Compston

Average User Rating

2.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
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Cracking film - just saw it on DVD and was thoroughly entertained. Great performances throughout, beautiful looking film, and stand-out soundtrack. It maybe ODs on the twists, but once immersed in the pacing of the film the suspense is fantastic.

Cracking film - just saw it on DVD and was thoroughly entertained. Great performances throughout, beautiful looking film, and stand-out soundtrack. It maybe ODs on the twists, but once immersed in the pacing of the film the suspense is fantastic.

This opening of this film is great, genuinely tense. Sadly once the dialogue kicks in it becomes very tedious. Eddie Marson is excellentd but Arterton does a lot of whimpering and shrieking and not a lot else (did someone above think this was a 3-diemnsional role for the female character-please.) and the other guy is just not a very good actor in my book. The dialogue often seems to belong in a bad stage play, the plot is twisty but in an obvious way and the characters are all too unpleasant to care about. Shame really because it looks good and might have been a good film if someone had got to work on the script and made the diirector cut 25 minutes or so out of it.

The less you know about the key plot points the better, and I enjoyed it as a result. Of course I went to see Marsan and frankly had no idea how it would end, he was unpredictable. Good film, go see it.

Gripping, provoacative and occasionally shocking thriller. Great to see a British film that isn't a tiresome rom-com.

I thought it was predictable, and with reasonable accuracy was able to guess the next “twists�. Aside from Eddie Marson’s excellent acting, this film isn’t particularly good. Bearing in mind (Gemma) *Pinocchio Arterton’s supposedly playing a rich party girl, scared to death over her sudden abduction, she doesn’t come across that way. Sure, there’s a lot of shrieking, but it doesn’t come across as convincing, especially the dialogue. . There’s the potential of a good film here, but the execution’s leaden – and perhaps it’s 20 minutes too long. There’s some poor continuity – Pinocchio’s make-up has been carefully re-applied half-way through – amazing, really, bearing in mind she’s just been shackled to a bed for a couple of days. Yes, there are occasional good moments, but on the whole I was a bit bored. Like “Brian Petts Wood� says, not a great movie. Definitely only 2 stars. *Pinocchio Arterton: So called not because she has a long nose - not because she tells lies - not because she lives with a kindly old man – because her acting’s a bit wooden (try not to see “Clash of the Titans� for further details). I hope she got a good fee – enough to keep herself in Rentokil’s “5 Star Wood Treatment�.

After the excellent review in TO was disapointed in this- it seemed despite great photography to be a fairly heavy handed and plodding thriller-it had great moments but did not come together overall.

The tension is severe and this is hardly a fun film, but the expertise is undeniable. All three are compelling, and I was relieved that the ending I feared was not what the writer/director chose.

Saw this at London Film Festival. It was surprisingly good. The cast are superb.