Monday, 4 May 2015

The Disappearance of Alice Creed - film review

The Disappearance of Alice Creed, written and directed by J. Blakeson, is a 2009 film that packs a punch. Cosy it isn't, and there are one or two scenes that are not for the squeamish. However, although it isn't lacking in violence or nudity, it does not seem to me to be a film that you could fairly condemn as exploitative. If it were, I doubt whether Gemma Arterton wouldn't have accepted the very demanding role of the eponymous Alice. She's an in-demand actor, and this film was shot on a low budget, but it nevertheless has a touch of quality about it.

The story concerns the kidnapping of a young woman, though the title of the film has an added significance. The film begins by showing two men making various preparations - it becomes clear that they are organising a secure place where they can hold their proposed victim. They duly kidnap her, bundle her into a van, and chain her up. But then the story starts to move in an unexpected direction,and it remains unpredictable right to the end.

The two kidnappers are played by Eddie Marsan, who seems to have cornered the market in dodgy characters with a vulnerable streak, and Martin Compston. And they, together with Gemma Arterton, make up the complete cast. The interplay between this trio is gripping throughout. Blakeson's script is taut, and his direction efficient, it's all the more impressive that this was his first movie.

The film was shot on the Isle of Man, an island I like very much, but it doesn't set out to make anything of its setting. Blakeson's focus is on the characters and above all, the question of what will happen next. And I found that I really did want to find out.

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