Director J Blakeson has come out of the gates charging with his first film. The Disappearance of Alice Creed is a taut thriller about a kidnapping that is anything but run-of-the-mill. The thriller has several twists and turns that keep you guessing about who is who and what is what. Now we are all kind of twist weary, but the twists are well done and occur at logical points in this film. J Blakeson shows a deft touch and a bright future.
After stealing a white van, two men take a trip to a home hardware story then using the supplies bought fortify a secluded apartment in an abandoned building. They put multiple locks on the door, board up the windows, build a bed then bolt it to the floor, and soundproof the bedroom. Next they wait outside a house and nab a young woman (Gemma Arterton – Clash of the Titans – 2010, Quantum of the Solace) that comes out. Gagging and tying her up they put her in the van and bring her to the apartment.
The younger man, Danny (Martin Compston – The Damned United) and the older man, Vic (Eddie Marsan – Sherlock Holmes, Hancock), have planned this down to the smallest detail and stick to their rigorous plan. Vic contacts the girl's father and asks for $2 million in ransom. They take pictures of her and force her by knifepoint to make a video pleading her father to pay the money and not involve the police.
Everything seems to be going according to plan, but then what happens next and next and then after that was not drawn up or expected by any of them.
Full of violence, cursing, sexuality, and nudity the film is a very raw one. Brutal and at times shocking the cast and director certainly know how to keep you interested. Despite the rawness the story is well done and clever. Blakeson does a good job keeping things simple in regards to camerawork and cast. There is only three characters involved in the story and most of the film takes place in the apartment. With this minimalism he is able to keep things uncluttered and get good performances from his cast.
Much of the kudos must go to the cast as they all turn in solid efforts. Special notice should be paid to Brit hottie Gemma Arterton. I'm sure many out there just believed her to be just another Bond girl – nice on the eyes, but no real acting talent. She shows she can act (she has to convey vulnerability, fear, sexuality, anger, and power) and also has plenty of courage as in one scene she is tied spread eagle completely naked to a bed. Looks can be deceiving.
The situation in the film becomes nasty and not a simple one for any of the three major players. It is tense and you never know what the next one is going to do. Even in the end it is not really clear what is going to happen next. That is good filmmaking.