The Disappearance of Alice Creed
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On a suburban street, two masked men seize a young woman. They bind and gag her and take her to an abandoned, soundproofed apartment. She is Alice Creed (Gemma Arterton), daughter of a millionaire. Her kidnappers, the coldly efficient Vic (Eddie Marsan) and his younger accomplice Danny (Martin Compston), have worked out a meticulous plan. But Alice is not going to play the perfect victim – she’s not giving in without a fight. In a tense power-play of greed, duplicity and survival we discover that sometimes disappearances can be deceptive…
The British thriller The Disappearance of Alice Creed is a taut exercise in psychological manipulation, driven by three forceful performances, most notably actress Gemma Arteton (Clash of the Titans) as the titular abductee. On the surface, Disappearance seems to be cut from familiar cloth: ex-cons Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes) and Martin Compston plot out and then execute the kidnapping of Arteton, the daughter of a wealthy businessman, for a sizable ransom. But as the minutes tick by in their dreary holding cell of a flat, relationships develop in unexpected ways, as do shifts in allegiances and motivations. To reveal these seismic changes would be to unleash spoilers of epic proportions, but suffice it to say that few will have expected the film's frenzied conclusion. Directed by first-timer J Blakeson with an eye towards pacing and atmosphere, The Disappearance of Alice Creed should please fans of adult suspense pictures with its smart scripting (by Blakeson) and fearless turns by its cast, especially Arteton in a role that requires her to play, by turns, victim and perpetrator; the DVD includes commentary by Blakeson, who discusses his influences (among them, Alien, interestingly enough), as well as two extended scenes with commentary and a collection of comic outtakes. A five-minute storyboard comparison, which shows preproduction sketches of the opening alongside the finished product, and the stateside trailer round out the extras. --Paul Gaita
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Director J Blakeson
- "Phones" Deleted Scene (with optional commentary by Writer/Director J Blakeson)
- "Alice Gets The Gun" Extended Scene (with optional commentary by Writer/Director J Blakeson)
- Storyboard Comparison
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Top customer reviews
The girl can act as well as look good. In a demeaning, vulnerable role, she is stripped naked, force to pee in a bottle, tied to a bed and ruthlessly gagged with one of those ball-in-the-mouth things that sex dominatrix like to use. It's fun to figure out what's going on because we suspect Alice is familiar with one of the kidnappers. So really, what's going on? Yes, a big surprise. Even after we find this out, our questions aren't answered. The film is filled with tension and is certainly an obscure gem of a picture.
The pace of the film is strong throughout while the style varies, especially at the start, and builds to the ultimate suspenseful moments. You'll get to know each character over time.
In the beginning, two men are clearly preparing for the kidnapping of Alice Creed (Gemma Arterton). This is accomplished with quick film shots and no dialogue, leaving viewers with the impression that this might be a straightforward hostage event but that doesn't turn out to be the case. Also in the opening scenes? A room is soundproofed and windows are boarded while a van is prepared along with a mouth gag, handcuffs and a bag to cover the victim's face. Everything seems in order and all goes smoothly - at first.
The men move efficiently and in a no nonsense manner. There is also some tension between them and some small arguments (again, mostly towards the beginning). They appear to be working together but without emotion and with some differences in their personalities. They seem simply out to obtain a massive ransom. But as the movie unfolds, the kidnappers and victim display a wider range of emotions. Cracks in the plan start to appear but the events still aren't boring or completely predictable.
Much of the film depends on understanding the nonverbal cues of the actors so do watch carefully for those moments when trust and mistrust are displayed. Having noted that, I don't want to give specific spoilers so will only note that there are enough surprises to keep viewers watching to see what happens next. I could predict one of these moments but there were others which I didn't see coming. The ending seemed a bit predictable (but not totally) and the film was still extremely satisfying.
While I give this one 5 stars for being so much better than the average thriller these days, I could find some flaws in the film, particularly towards the end, but they were minor compared to the performances of the actors, people which I didn't recognize (except for Gemma Atherton).
The least believable section of the film happened after an event in some woods. I found it hard that there would be any trust left between those two characters and didn't feel that one of those characters should have wavered a bit in response to that particular event. But that slight moment of wavering revealed more about each of the characters involved.
Of course, I'm trying to be vague enough to encourage possible viewers to watch this one. You aren't likely to find a better choice on television, including cable.
There are a few times when credulity is stretched, and a few plot turns that have that sense of being a `clever twist' instead of something organic to the characters or the story (you can feel them as they're where the acting is less strong, you can see the actors strain to make them `work'), but neither shortcoming is enough to keep this from being a highly entertaining, and even ultimately oddly touching nail-biter.
I enjoy a movie done on a low budget that turns out well. The low budget ones depend a lot more on the actors and scripts. Gemma has a couple great scenes. Loved her as an actress in this movie much MUCH more than her other ones. To be honest, I didn't recognize her from any of her big title movies nor did I care much enough about her acting to even check. Clearly different story with this performance.
The two gents did some great stuff as well but was over shadowed by Gemma imo.
Not discussing the plot at all. The commentary does a good job of covering some misc info you might be curious about. Such as the title (and no, this isn't giving anything away - if you see the movie you'll know what I mean). Also touches on the motivation behind Danny and to what he was thinking at certain times of the story line (which I was really wondering about).
If you like a suspense story line, some intense acting and a couple good twists all the while wondering what is going to happen to which character, snag this one.