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With: Gemma Arterton, Eddie Marsan, Martin Compston
Written by: J. Blakeson
Directed by: J. Blakeson
MPAA Rating: R for violent content, pervasive language and some sexuality/nudity
Running Time: 100
Date: 09/12/2009

The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2010)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Snatch Card

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

British filmmaker J. Blakeson makes his feature debut with The Disappearance of Alice Creed, and it's a strong one: economical, surprising, and emotional. With the exception of a few establishing shots, he confines the action to two or three rooms and some moody woods, with only three characters involved. The very strong screenplay keeps the drama building in interesting and surprising ways, revealing bits of information a little at a time. Most kidnapping movies follow the attempts to rescue the victim, and this one flips the genre on its side.

Danny (Martin Compston) and Vic (Eddie Marsan) spend a good deal of time outfitting a room with soundproofing, locks, braces and various other items. Then their plan begins: they kidnap Alice Creed (Gemma Arterton), tie her to a bed, and proceed to demand and collect their ransom money. It's a perfect plan, except for one thing: the victim has not been chosen randomly. More than that, the secret relationship between the two men will eventually complicate matters further. Once the power dynamic shifts between the three figures, what will keep the plan from toppling altogether?

The movie benefits greatly from a trio of strong performances, by three actors (Arterton, Marsan, and Compston) who deserve to be better known after this. With very little physical movement during the bulk of the story -- the camera stays mostly inside the room -- the movie depends heavily on these characters. The gamble pays off, and we hang on their every word and movement. Intense and unflinching, it's probably not for the weak of stomach, however.

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