“The Disappearance Of Alice Creed” is not a horror film. Let’s get that out of the way up front. It is, however, dark and gritty enough to be enjoyed by fans of the genre. A quick glance at the back side of the artwork and one may expect a torture film. There is none of that to be had, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you may want to look elsewhere. “Alice Creed” is more of a character study than anything. A look at how people’s relationships, dictate the way they handle bad situations.
The story follows Vic and Danny, as they execute a plan they formulated in prison, to kidnap a rich man’s daughter for the amount of two million dollars. The tension throughout the entire film is very thick. The opening scene follows Vic and Danny as they prepare for the act. This scene basically sets the tone for the entire film, as strange as it sounds. Simple things like pushing a shopping cart through a department store, and assembling a bed are handled with such a sense of determination, that you can tell right away that this duo are up to no good.
One of the most exceptional things about “Alice Creed” is that it doesn’t rely on nonsensical plot twists like most films of this nature. Yes, there are twists, and shocking reveals, but they occur long before the end, and the film isn’t based around the entire concept. There is no shocking ending here, it’s probably what you suspect will happen from the jump, but by the end you’ve learned so much about the characters, and have become so attached that the ending packs a punch, whether you suspected it or not. Too often, a film that is written around the concept of a plot twists, fails to pay enough attention to the rest of the film. It leaves viewers impatient, and spending the runtime figuring out your twist in their head. It’s a inspiring to see that there are still filmmakers out there that can weave you through intricate plot details without making it feel too much like a set-up.
The cast is a small one, consisting of only three actors, all of which are outstanding. Martin Compston, and Eddie Marsan mesh fantastically as the seasoned criminal veteran and his young protege. The chemistry between the two actors is what initially sucks you into the film. However, the introduction of Alice Creed, played pitch-perfect by the naturally beautiful Gemma Arterton, makes it impossible for you to look away for the rest of the film. Gemma is a stunning beauty, and a remarkable actress. Her range of emotions throughout the film is nothing short of mesmerizing.
The writing plays a key role in the success of the film, as well. The plan to kidnap Alice is a complicated one, to say the least. Each and every little detail to ensure the success of the mission has been outlined. These are things that are generally left out of such stories. Simple little details such as changing clothes for each activity and what to do with the clothes you took off. Installing metal hooks on the bed frame, for to use as handcuff anchors. These details are very easily ignored, especially when the writing pays so much attention to the characters. This is the feature film debut for writer/director J. Blakeson, and it solidifies his spot on the list of upcoming directors to pay attention to. Blakeson also wrote the sequel to “The Descent”, but after seeing “Alice Creed”, we’ll let him off the hook for that mess.
I expected your run of the mill crime thriller, as I popped the Blu-Ray in the player. Instead, I was treated to one of the most solid crime based character studies that I have seen for years. The writing is masterful, the acting is superb, and the story keeps you intrigued for the duration. I highly recommend “Alice Creed” to anyone who is a fan of the genre. Gemma Arterton will steal your heart as “Alice”, and have you seeking out her previous, and future films. I can’t praise her performance enough, nor can I praise her casting. In a world where most starlets fit a certain type cast, sickly skinny, with giant fake boobs, it was nice to see a woman with some curves on the screen. Just one of the many strong points for what I feel was one of the best films of 2010.