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Overall Rating
3.17

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look69.57%
Average: 4.35%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 26.09%

2 reviews, 11 user ratings


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Disappearance of Alice Creed, The
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by Jay Seaver

"There's no such thing as a perfect plan."
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2010 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: I am somewhat surprised that the title of this film is not "The Kidnapping of Alice Creed". After all, everything else about this movie is precise, thought-out, and well-defined - it would be a shame if the very title proved to be a red herring or gave the end away.

Vic (Eddie Marsan) and Danny (Martin Compston) have a plan. We see them prepare, carefully making sure that they will go undetected and leave no forensic traces that will cause the law to pursue them after they have made their escape. The young woman they kidnap, Alice (Gemma Arterton), will have no chance of escape before the ransom is paid. It is a good plan. In fact, it appears to be a flawless plan. Except, of course, that there is no such thing: There's always something hasn't been taken into account.

What is the wrench in Vic's and Danny's plan? You don't really expect me to say, do you? It's not a bad little twist, which lets the audience look at the plot in a different way, allows the security of the hideout to be compromised (but not obviously so), and sets up for another revelation that, while it doesn't so much turn the plot on its head again, certainly does a fine job of making things more complicated. It is, in its way, a machine as perfectly well-oiled as the original kidnapping plot, designed to keep things up in the air until the last scene.

And there is a little bit more going on, too. It would be an exaggeration to say that Disappearance is only a taut kidnapping thriller on the surface, but something else underneath - it is, above all, a movie designed to generate tension and keep the audience guessing. But that tension doesn't come just from how the mechanics of the plan and the plot works; there's a clear theme of how the person with power in a relationship can lie to himself or herself, truly believing that what he or she is doing is acceptable and will be forgiven or appreciated in retrospect. This sort of delusion pops up multiple times in the movie, implicitly and explicitly.

That's what makes the job that the cast does fairly notable - they do have to play more than just going through the motions. Martin Compston's Danny is the central figure, and Compston plays the character as deliciously difficult to know fully, likely with more conflicting ideas in his past than any of the other characters. Eddie Marsan's Vic is seemingly more straightforward, a career criminal who comes by his pushiness by having come up with the plan and knowing that it relies on trusting his younger colleague. Gemma Arterton gets what is often a pretty thankless role - she spends much of the movie bound and gagged on a bed, degraded and helpless - but the scenes where her character does get to try and influence her lot are well done, a nice conflict between an intelligent woman trying to work her way out of the situation and one whose rage and anger may prevent her from thinking clearly.

Writer/director J Blakeson does well in pulling it all together; the plot feels tight, as if he worked as hard on making it foolproof as his characters have. He and his crew make the film look very nice without overdoing the gloss. And while the end may not be as sharp and meticulous as all that leads up to it, muting it somewhat, that is in part the point: Emotional reactions muddy up a precise, almost mathematical set-up.

That precision is why "The Disappearance of Alice Creed" is initially able to draw us in; the emotion is why it's impressive as more than just a technical exercise.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=19476&reviewer=371
originally posted: 07/20/10 03:31:15
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Toronto International Film Festival For more in the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2010 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/06/13 Blah I've seen bad movies before, but this...good god! 1 stars
6/26/12 calvin and hobbes Crap 1 stars
6/09/12 liker of good movies Skip it 1 stars
4/04/12 moose rapper Terrible. 1 stars
3/11/12 Josie Cotton is a goddess Uninspired direction, bad dialogue and contrived twists make this a waste of film 1 stars
1/13/12 matthew Thompson Dalldorf An overrated soap-opera that thinks it's a thriller 1 stars
10/02/11 hurdygurdy man Refreshing change of pace, does the trick. 4 stars
1/30/11 Amy A great thriller- some good twists. 4 stars
11/12/10 porfle One of the niftiest thrillers I've seen in a long time. 4 stars
8/09/10 PAUL SHORTT TAUT AND WELL ACTED 3 stars
9/14/09 Lenore Francois Strong, convincing performances & engaging intrigue yield a successful 1st feature film. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-Aug-2010 (R)
  DVD: 23-Nov-2010

UK
  N/A

Australia
  06-Aug-2010


Directed by
  J Blakeson

Written by
  J Blakeson

Cast
  Gemma Arterton
  Eddie Marsan
  Martin Compston



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