REVIEW: The Disappearance of Alice Creed

7 08 2010

In “The Disappearance of Alice Creed,” two kidnappers (Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston) hold the daughter of a rich businessman hostage for a hefty ransom.  It goes all according to plan in the first stage, but it all seems to go wrong after that due to a series of blunders.

Funny enough, our reaction to the movie echoes all the plot developments.  The movie is gripping for the first thirty minutes, particularly as we watch the kidnappers set up for the abduction and the period following.  There’s something very chilling about how meticulously organized their process is, and it’s made even more eerie by their silence.

In typical minimalist indie fashion, we don’t see the actual kidnapping, but the aftermath is just as scary.  They bring Alice Creed (Gemma Arterton) into a soundproofed apartment where they quickly strip her, gag her, and tie her to a chained-down bed.  And once they have her securely in their grip, the movie starts to lose its grip on plausibility.  The respect that we had built up for it slowly begins to diminish for the next hour until the thriller practically devolves into a comedy.

Just when we expect the movie to wow us with originality, it takes a series of bizarrely typical twists of the genre.  There are all sorts of hackneyed gimmicks designed for a quick thrill.  The situations are robbed of any suspense because we’ve seen it done a million times, and the ultimate unintended result is laughter at their predictability.  In a summer where laughs have been hard to come by, I’ll take them where I can get them.

Really, the unexpected relationships between the characters are the only things unique about the movie.  There are literally three people in it, no extras, no voices on the telephone, no random people in the background.  Just Marsan doing the same old cantankerous villain, Arterton baring it all while getting away from her 2010 tentpole action movies, and Compston making a blip for the first time on my radar.  These aren’t three random people, as we find out.  But for the same of keeping the atmosphere of a thriller in “The Disappearance of Alice Creed,” maybe they should have been.  B /


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3 responses

8 08 2010
David H. Schleicher

It look’s as if we agree here. I think Arterton was all wrong for the part. A better actress may have resulted in a more meaningful end.

9 08 2010
Paragraph Film Reviews

I was totally up for seeing this but (despite it being a British film) they gave it such a limited release here that it was impossible to catch. Looking forward to the DVD though.

9 08 2010
Marshall

Don’t know if this is the same across the pond, but stateside, you can get the movie on Amazon.com Video on Demand. Hope you can see it there…it’s cheaper than buying a ticket here!

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