The Disappearance of Alice Creed (18)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner29/04/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 98 mins

Impressively directed and superbly written, this is a hugely enjoyable, constantly surprising and thoroughly gripping thriller with terrific performances from its three leads.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by first-timer J Blakeson, The Disappearance of Alice Creed stars Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston as ex-cons Vic and Danny, who are preparing to execute a meticulously prepared plan. After securing and sound-proofing an empty flat, they kidnap socialite Alice Creed (a remarkably game Gemma Arterton), chain her to a bed, strip her naked, photograph her, stick her in a purple tracksuit, issue a ransom demand and wait for her wealthy father to make contact. However, Alice turns out to be much more resourceful than either Vic or Danny had bargained for and events soon take an unexpected turn.

The Good
The three leads are terrific. Eddie Marsan somehow manages to make Vic both chilling and vulnerable, often within the same scene, while Martin Compston is intriguingly unpredictable throughout. Similarly, Gemma Arterton delivers her best performance to date, nailing her emotional scenes (particularly her video-taped message to camera) and adding complex shades to Alice as the film progresses.

Blakeson's direction is remarkably assured, creating an effectively claustrophobic atmosphere and maintaining a palpable level of suspense from start to finish. You know you're in good hands from the opening scene onwards, in which a concisely edited montage sequence shows Vic and Danny wordlessly preparing the kidnap room, but also includes a scene where they take a sandwich break.

The Great
The tightly constructed script is constantly surprising, adeptly wrong-footing the audience at every turn but never sacrificing believability. It even manages to work in clever visual references to films such as Miller's Crossing and Trainspotting.

In addition, Blakeson orchestrates several terrific sequences, all of which it would be churlish to reveal here. Suffice it to say that the film closes with an utterly brilliant final touch.

Worth seeing?
This is a hugely enjoyable thriller with a terrific script and superb performances from Eddie Marsan, Martin Compston and Gemma Arterton. Not only is it one of the best British films of the year, it also marks writer-director Blakeson out as a talent to watch. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

The Disappearance of Alice Creed (18)
Be the first to review The Disappearance of Alice Creed...
image
01 The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (tbc)

Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, ...

image
02 The Theory of Everything (tbc)

Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Emily Watson

image
03 Pride (15)

Bill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, Imelda Sta...

image
04 What We Did on Our Holidays (12A)

David Tennant, Billy Connolly, Rosamund Pike, Anne...

image
05 The Guest (15)

Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Ethan Embry

Content updated: 02/09/2014 05:14

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Night Moves Film Review

Engaging and provocative, this is a fiercely introspective thriller from writer-director Kelly Reichardt, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films

Hot Tickets

Film 4 Summer ScreenFilm 4 Summer Screen

Taking over the big screen at Somerset House again for August 2014, the Film 4 Summer Screen series brings a variety of classics and brand new films to audiences in the capital.