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Overall Rating

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 brianorndorf

"The comfort of bondage"
4 stars

An intimate thriller imbued with potent twists and turns, “The Disappearance of Alice Creed” is a sneaky creature, invested in a bleak mood of imprisonment that repels as much as it fascinates. While writer/director J. Blakeson can’t fill out the entire feature with delirious suspense, he executes a few superb surprises here, sold by a cast of three talented actors in various stages of gut-wrenching distress.

Attempting to make a small fortune, crooks Vic (Eddie Marsan) and Danny (Martin Compston) have kidnapped heiress Alice Creed (Gemma Arterton), holding her in their fortified apartment as ransom details are worked out. Chaining her to a bed, the men have every possible detail worked out, keeping Alice in a state of panic to help encourage her affluent father to pay up. As the day burns on, Vic grows increasingly suspect of Danny, who possesses knowledge of Alice that isn’t immediately understood. With payoff time drawing near, tensions rise and paranoia bubbles over, threatening the security of the criminal venture.

Without any supporting characters to open up the scope of the picture, “Alice Creed” is left to deal with three players in a sick game of control. It’s a claustrophobic atmosphere of suspicion, with Blakeson drilling into the strain of the criminal act through deployment of menacing masked men and a whimpering victim, generating a considerable amount of tension through the very act of standing. The viewer doesn’t have a clue how far Vic and Danny will go with their vicious threats, making their cold-blooded verbal demands as torturous as the elaborate bondage gear used to keep Alice muffled and strapped to the bed. It’s a violent picture, but the unease emerges through the stillness of the room, watching the men patiently stir up their captive with guns, knives, and slaps to trigger the proper hysteria.

Blakeson slowly coils his film with stark characterizations, helped by two menacing performances from Marsan and Compston, who communicate a tentative union of greed that deepens into something more revealing, tied to the shared stint in prison. “Alice Creed” can only struggle so far on suspense alone, leaving Blakeson to install a few turns to keep the viewer guessing -- effective shocks that continually alter the film’s perspective, while presenting the actors with more to play with than simple scowls. Arterton is also effective as the victim, working herself into a tornado of tears as Alice senses the severity of the threat, sniffing out ways to turn the tables on her kidnappers. The performances are nervy and vulnerable, lifting the material when Blakeson gets caught up in a few staring contests to pad out the film. At least in the first act, there’s a real sense of threat coming from the trio, which keeps the picture away from discouraging predictability.

While Blakeson lathers up “Alice Creed” splendidly, he shows trouble closing it out. The film comes to a complete stop in the final act, growing reliant on lumbering Don’t Shoot Me showdowns and extended acts of deception. The picture crawls past the finish line, which is disappointing to see, considering how hard it strikes in the early going. Regardless of its climatic limp, “The Disappearance of Alice Creed” retains more than its share of spectacular suspense sequences, keeping the tension percolating long enough to satisfy.

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originally posted: 11/13/10 02:24:47
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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
9/14/09 Lenore Francois Strong, convincing performances & engaging intrigue yield a successful 1st feature film. 4 stars
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  06-Aug-2010 (R)
  DVD: 23-Nov-2010



Directed by
  J Blakeson

Written by
  J Blakeson

  Gemma Arterton
  Eddie Marsan
  Martin Compston

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