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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Whether you buy into its storyline of a crime that doesn't exactly go to plan or whether some of the events and twists seem a little far-fetched, The Disappearance of Alice Creed has at least one element that distinguishes it from the many modern British crime films - someone has at least taken the effort to come up with a worthwhile script that pays attention to characterisation and the mechanics of plot development.

That person is first-time writer/director J. Blakeson and careful consideration of who the characters are and how they develop over the course of the meticulously paced film ensure that The Disappearance of Alice Creed is constantly inventive and entertaining. And it needs to be - an independent production, shot on the Isle of Man on a low-budget, with only three characters seen over the length of the entire film, the action confined to only one or two locations where a young woman had been kidnapped and held for ransom by two clearly ruthless criminals - you're going to need some clever writing and plot developments to keep the viewer hooked.

You need more than a good script actually, you need good actors who can deliver it and make it work, and this is where the film's other strength lies - Gemma Arterton, Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston. These are challenging roles - not least for Arterton, who is brutally manhandled in the opening sequences of the film - but each of the characters have strengths and weaknesses that are gradually and dangerously exploited, shifting the balance of power between them on several occasions, and the actors prove to be more than capable of stretching to the dynamic that the roles demand.

There are certainly demands placed on the viewer also, both in the violent nature of the subject - mostly it's just the suggestion of violence, but no less intense for it - and in acceptance of some of the twists and revelations that don't stop until the clever placement of the final credits roll. Go with the flow however and this is a well-made film that manages to be gripping and entertaining and more than delivers on its promise.
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on 15 February 2011
This surprised me by batting way above my expectations. Although a few small elements finger its origins as a moderately low budget thriller (they never show or explain HOW Alice is kidnapped, just show her getting stuffed into a van, which struck me as a great way to get around a thorny script problem), the vast majority of the film is a very tautly held tension thriller.
Alice is played with great bravery by Gemma Arterton, going through abduction, nudity, and various other humiliations for the role. Her character is excellently convincing as remarkably normal, and she pulls off all of the scenes with great aplomb, regardless of whether they're anger or emotion. Young actor Martin Compston is also surprisingly good as the younger of the kidnapping duo, 'Danny', playing a role that requires him to shift emotions and behaviour in some pretty radical directions. Delivering just the right mix of insolence, uncertainty and fear, he's extremely good. Eddie Marsan plays the older and more frighteningly unpredictable of the kidnappers - a man with a violent past and some clear aggression issues. Never a fan of him in the past, I was glad to see this is his best performance to date, playing his role terrifically. The whole film is a 3-hander, relying on the leads playing against each other in a small selection of locations, the main one being the flat they've so meticulously soundproofed and fortified at the beginning. With superb performances like this, I didn't notice the numbers, and was in fact extremely surprised when the cast list rolled past and I realised they'd carried off the whole movie without having any need for anybody else. That, I think above all else, is a sign of just how well it's been done. There are a lot of moments of real tension and panic, some believable mind games, and some very effective twists. On the basis of this blisteringly good little movie, director J Blakeson should have a bright future ahead of him.
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The Disappearance of Alice Creed (TDOAC) stars Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace) as our titular rich-girl who is kidnapped in order to extort money from her reputedly very-rich father. The kidnappers, two ex-cons Vic (Eddie Marsan - Sherlock Holmes) and Danny (Martin Compston - The Damned United) are seemingly extremely well prepared and motivated; fortifying & soundproofing the flat before bringing Alice there and tying her up, but the interaction between the three is not as straight-forward as it first seems...

TDOAC starts with a very snappy set of shots of the kidnappers preparing, the initial 5 minutes of the film are completely wordless which absolutely captivated my attention, dying for someone to explain just what was going on. The rest of the film follows suit well with the dialogue being terse, concise and emotive and the majority of the experience taking place in the munited two-room flat in a nameless part of Scotland.

The acting is unparalleled as the relationships between the trio develop; Arterton plays the distressed & humiliated daughter perfectly making you feel for the character, whilst Eddie Marson fills the role of the domineering, psychotic and violent ex-convict with great flair. The man-of-the-match, as it were, has to be Martin Compston who really gets to work through the full emotional range with his Janusian character adding most of the drama and intrigue. There are only three actors in this entire movie - quite a feat in itself - but you will never be bored with the story, this is the mark of great writing in my opinion.

[As an aside, I know of only one other film in recent history with this few actors, a favourite of mine - Sleuth starring only Caine & Law and based on a Pinter play, highly recommended if you enjoy psychological thrillers like TDOAC]

Extra content: There is a director's commentary that overlays the film by J Blakeson and also a making of featurette and a couple of minutes of extended scenes that didn't make the cinematic cut. The extras also include the original storyboards so you can see how the original vision made it to the silver screen, it's nothing unique and not a reason to buy the film on it's own but it's stood on the shoulders of a very good film.

I can't go any further without ruining the plot; but this film will keep you on the edge of your seat for the 98-minute duration as you are blindsided by twist after twist and left hanging in disbelief. The ending is open to interpretation but gives a broader meaning to the title and is a great flourish to an already solid film that will leave you thinking. Highly recommended for a tense & intelligent hostage thriller that will keep you guessing!!
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on 4 October 2010
Two small time criminals have a plan: kidnap the daughter of a millionaire, hold her for ransom, get the money and disappear somewhere hot. Sounds like a fairly simple plan, doesn't it? It is, at least in theory. Of course very little is simple in The Disappearance of Alice Creed, a first rate British thriller which rises above the limitations of its small budget to deliver a solid tale with an outstanding performance from Gemma Arterton as Alice. I can't think of many actresses who'd put themselves through the things Arterton does here, and while there will be viewers uncomfortable with the aggression shown and implied towards her character, trust me when I say the victim is not who you always think it is.

This isn't a thriller in the sense that there's a police investigation into the kidnap; there are no car chases, no gunfights, no helicopters and no Bruce Willis in a dirty vest. This is about as British as it gets. Low, slightly grimy and with one eye on a better life. Highly recommended.
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on 9 May 2016
An OK film. Not Gemma Arterton at her best, I assume it was on of her early roles. Kept me on my toes for a while, but the denouement bothered me some.... with the fatally injured chief protagonist handing Alice the means to escape just as he was about to breathe his last.
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on 7 October 2010
This is a pretty effective crime thriller, with Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston playing two greedy ex-cons who mastermind the abduction of Gemma Arterton, hoping to pick up a juicy ransom for their troubles. The first few scenes, which document the preparation of Alice's kidnapping, are superbly shot and edited, and all three performances are excellent. There are certainly flaws though- the one location setting which dominates a big chunk of the film does become slightly tiresome, as does Arterton's over-reliance on a certain four letter word when she's ad-libbing some of her dialogue. Also, some of the character motivation doesn't really seem to add up (Compston's obsession with disposing of a shell-casing makes no sense at all, when all he has to do is put it in his pocket!). Overall though it's fairly gripping with a good finale and most crime film fans will no doubt enjoy spotting a few directorial nods to films such as Shallow Grave and the great Miller's Crossing.
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on 16 January 2016
This is one of those taut,claustrophobic thrillers which only has a few characters(three)in it and is mostly filmed in one setting(a dingy room).They either work well or are a complete mess,depending on the quality of the actors,the script and whether there are enough twists and turns in the story to keep you gripped to see how it ends.Thankfully all those things are in evidence here,so what you have is a nice little psycho drama that never gets boring.
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VINE VOICEon 1 November 2010
It just goes to show a gripping, exciting thriller can be made without spending millions of pounds, or a cast of thousands of "name" actors. It also goes to show that us Brits make fantastic films.

The film begins with two men preapring a flat to kidnap a hostage, stapling carpet underlay to the walls, securing doors and "preparing" the bed. The kidnap itself then takes place, which is a scene which is quite disturbing, and makes you think this is going to be a film full of violence towards the captive. It is not. Get past this scene, and although the film has a continual threat of violence, the story line of bluff and counter-bluff, cross and double-cross draws you in, leaving you gasping "well I did not expect that!".

Well acted by the three characters, all of whom are beleiveable.
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on 29 June 2016
Upon reading the write-up I was prepaing myself for a low budget attempt at the hit film Cellular. But it isn't that, in fact it isn't even close to that. By far one of the more unusual kidnap movies out there and overall not really my cup of tea, but full marks for effort in creating something different.
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on 11 October 2010
Wow, never really expected much from this film, low budget brit thriller, and wow does it come up trumps. There are only 3 actors in the whole film which I never realised until nearing the end, just going to shown the quality of acting involved. I was kept glued the whole way through. Some of what happens in predictable but the whole film itself was so enjoyable I can forgive that. This film left me feeling great and actually wanting to see more. yes, more like this please :)
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