Sunday, October 16, 2011

"The Disappearance of Alice Creed" (2009) - Movie Review

When has ever been a clean kidnapping in films? In “The Disappearance of Alice Creed”, it begins with its perpetrators doing the chores of kidnapping, shopping for it, working for it and doing it in a fashion that can only be called creepy perfection. They do not speak to each other but then again what would they say? “Hey man, this is going to be so cool when we finish it that Ms. Alice Creed is going to love it!” Exactly!

Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston are the two kidnappers arranging the set up with such care and professionalism that if they could only put this thought on something else. Then again if you want to become millionaire overnight and are devious enough, you are stuck with few options. They get to it right away and the command Eddie’s character has on over Martin’s is not new but only Eddie Marsan can do that with a conviction. They indeed kidnap a young girl whom we do not see her face until they strip her naked and lay down in the bed they spread out to take pictures. They know what would cause not alone response but instantaneous one from her family to provide the ransom. This is Alice Creed played by Gemma Arterton.

Debutant director J Blakeson is a confident man and that is stompingly evident in each shot of this tightly packed film. We learn Eddie Marsan’s character is Vic and Martin Compston’s Danny. Danny is lean but not mean while Vic has those deadly eyes that is nothing short of pure killing. Then again Vic has an exact path of where this is going. He analyses each of these with great precision and executes them mercilessly. He is the professional in this business and Danny is new to this. He slaps around Danny to get some sense to him as he should. When you are knee deep in shit, you better keep going to cross it or you would die in it and it would be a stinking one.

The film of course reveals details as it goes along and in the event of accidental spoilers, please do not read further if you have not seen the film. Chances of holding a hostage situation under control deteriorates as the time expands. When a human factor is involved and you are not all the way in as Vic is, then you are eventually going to give in to the involvement with the victim and thereby exposing for failure in the merciless kidnapping. Such is the game and how easily J Blakeson makes us think and associate with the kidnappers is the first step of draw in he pulls on his audience.

In this game is Gemma Arterton, a terrific actress who as Charlotte Gainsburg in “Antichrist”, goes all through for the exercise. She lays there chained on hands and legs, laying naked and being humiliated. She has the toughest role in the film and she makes it all look easy. We are provided these snippets of details of the history these characters have. Almost next to nothing but strong enough to pursue the story forward thrillingly. And the beauty of it is as we are so caught up in the events and tension that happens in the apartment is that we are wide eyed only when Blakeson wants us to be on those details. Rest of the time, there are these small things that will not disappear that would get one of the characters in trouble. That damn bullet casing!

“The Disappearance of Alice Creed” is the kind of film that when it sparks the bombs one by one you are humoured and shocked by it. You circle around taking sides in between these characters and finally you have no idea where conscience took vacation in this 100 minutes. It sucks you in to the minds of these deadly people and you certainly know that Vic is the character who would not hesitate to kill Alice. But if you think Danny is the only man with iota of conscience in that apartment, think again.

I was constantly in anticipation of what is going to happen next as any thriller should be and it delivers those anticipation, not with bang but with exact measurements. In between doing so, it has these props and places that are accompanied with Marc Canham’s eerie score to exemplify that J Blakeson is the director to watch for who does not mess around when the screen play he has provides the punches that would knock you out, wake you up and knock you out again.

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