The Disappearance of Alice Creed

Film, Thrillers
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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The Disappearance of Alice Creed
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

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Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday April 30 2010
Duration: 98 mins

Cast and crew

Director: J Blakeson
Cast: Gemma Arterton
Eddie Marsan
Martin Compston