The Disappearance of Alice Creed is a nice indie picture that is pretty intense and unrelenting from beginning to end. The film also features three great performances with rising star Gemma Arterton standing out amongst them. The DVD itself is limited in the features department but the picture looks great and the audio is adequate enough. If you can pick up the disc at a good price then it would be well worth picking up.
The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2010)
Anchor Bay | R – 100 min. – $29.97 | November 23, 2010
Directed by: J Blakeson
Writer(s): J Blakeson
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Martin Compston, Eddie Marsan
Theatrical Release Date: August 6, 2010 (limited)
Features: Audio Commentary, Featurette, Deleted/Extended Scenes, Outtakes
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
THE MOVIE – 4/5
The crime was simple: kidnap a rich man’s daughter (GEMMA ARTERTON), demand two million in ransom and get away scot-free as millionaires. That was the plan hatched by Vic (EDDIE MARSAN) and Danny (MARTIN COMPSTON) but even the best laid plans fall apart… The set-up was perfect as the two make preparations stealing a van, buying/retrofitting a bed, making a crappy apartment bedroom soundproof and destroying evidence. The execution went off without a hitch kidnapping the girl, Alice, getting her into the apartment, tying her up and getting the pictures needed to demand the ransom. Perfect thus far, but alterative motives threaten to undo it all.
The Disappearance of Alice Creed is actually a really good, small and taut little thriller directed by J Blakeson making his feature-length directorial debut and only his second script after The Descent: Part 2. Many times first time directors fail in terms of pacing and the overall story, but here Blakeson doesn’t faulter and I only wish we had these smaller pictures here in the States more often, even if they’re direct-to-video (Alice Creed received a limited release in August 2010).
What I liked the most about this film was how it keeps the tension throughout the entire 95-minutes and never deviating from the main – and only – characters as other thrillers of this ilk tend to split the time between the hostage/kidnapers and a rogue cop chasing down and catching the villains, rescuing the damsel in distress.
Instead, we stay with the three characters and other than the very beginning and the final act, we primarily stay within the apartment as the kidnapers go in and out of the bedroom where Alice is being kept while she tries to figure things out and uses one of their weaknesses to hopefully make a getaway. This is not to mention the tension and distrust that develops between Vic and Danny that ultimately reveals a fairly shocking twist towards the middle of the film.
Aside from Blakeson’s tight and effective direction, the performances of course cannot be overlooked. Although Martin Compston – whom I’m not entirely familiar with outside of a movie called Red Mist – gives a fine performance and the underrated and oft underutilized Eddie Marsan (most recently seen in Sherlock Holmes) is perfect as the heavy baddie, the prize has to go to Gemma Arterton who gives one of the best, yet understated, performances of the year with really little to do often times as she’s limited in both speech and mobility throughout the film outside of a few moments during the second act.
Of course I highly doubt Arterton will receive much recognition even in the UK but to see her transformation from her first notable role in 2008’s James Bond film, Quantum of Solace followed by another blockbuster from 2010, Clash of the Titans (she also apparently has a role in the upcoming Men in Black III), but neither of those roles can compare to the emotional torture and anguish she experiences in Alice Creed.
All in all, The Disappearance of Alice Creed may not be the thriller to end all thrillers but it is one of the better movies in the genre that I’ve seen in quite a while. By no means is it perfect as there are moments in the story that become a bit too heavy, but I still found it to be an enticing little film that I highly recommend checking out be it via rental or in-story purchase.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2/5
There’s not a whole lot on the disc except a deleted scene (1:43), an extended scene (7:42), both accompanied with optional commentary by J Blakeson, a selection of outtakes (4:16) containing flubbed lines, a storyboard comparison (5:35), a feature commentary with Blakeson and the theatrical trailer (1:21).
The commentary is obviously the best of the bunch as you get to learn how the story came to be, shooting certain scenes and giving his insights on the performances. It’s not the best track I’ve listened to as I usually prefer multiple participants, but you’ll learn a thing or two about the production.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
The Disappearance of Alice Creed is presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 2.40 aspect ratio. For a standard definition picture, I was quite surprised at how semi-clear this transfer was as most DVDs today are littered with pixilation problems and while this isn’t as clear as the Blu-ray version, it is still one of the better DVD transfers I’ve seen in a while.
AUDIO – 3.5/5
The DVD comes with a Dolby Digital 5.1 and since this is primarily a dialogue-driven movie with some ambient music thrown in for good measure. The audio is clean and crisp throughout with only a couple instances that would test the depth of the track (such as gunfire).
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, The Disappearance of Alice Creed is a nice indie picture that is pretty intense and unrelenting from beginning to end. The film also features three great performances with rising star Gemma Arterton standing out amongst them. The DVD itself is limited in the features department but the picture looks great and the audio is adequate enough. If you can pick up the disc at a good price (in the $10 range) then it would be well worth picking up.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman