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  M.   September 18, 2009

J. Blakeson’s The Disappearance of Alice Creed was outstanding.


Alice Creed is a simple premise and it thrives on that simplicity which makes its many unexpected twists and turns take the viewer even more by surprise. It opens as we watch two men, Vic and Danny, played by Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston, silently go through their elaborate preparations for a kidnapping. A few minutes later they’re dragging a panicked young woman (Gemma Arterton) back to the room they’ve prepared, stripping her naked, chaining her to the bed, then leaving her locked up as their plan is set in motion.

What none of them realize is that there’s more to the relationships between these three people than we first might assume and as those truths come out, it takes this from being a straightforward thriller to something far more intriguing as the duo’s well-devised plan starts to unravel, and alliances and mindgames between the three players start to unravel.

Sporting a full beard, Vic is Eddie Marsan displaying his angrier and rougher side, although there’s a surprisingly sensitive side to Vic that is allowed free once in a while. Danny is the far more subservient and uncertain of the men, essentially going along with Vic’s plan but constantly having second thoughts, putting him in the middle of a power struggle between two very strong individuals. The title role is an extremely daring one for Gemma Arterton–currently known for her brief appearance as Agent Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace–not only due to the amount of nudity and the humiliations she’s forced to endure during her capture, but also the amount of emotional range the role requires her to portray. It will be interesting to see how much of this she carries to her two high-profile blockbusters she’s starring in next year.

Blakeson is a filmmaker to watch due to the masterful way he’s created such a riveting twist-filled film out of such a simple premise, finding a way to stage the performances by these three incredible actors in a set that essentially consists of three rooms in an apartment. Eventually, it does go outside as it builds to its climax, and that ending does feel like it goes on a little too long, even if it does lead to an unexpected payoff when the title finally comes on screen.

Either way, Disappearance is a film like Shallow Grave or Following, the quality of debut that can kick off a healthy career as a filmmaker ala Danny Boyle or Christopher Nolan, especially if Blakeson can follow through with an even stronger sophomore effort.

Source: Coming Soon