The Disappearance of Alice Creed
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Starring: Gemma Arterton, Eddie Marsan, Martin Compston
Director: J Blakeson
When trying to compete on Hollywood's level with the budget, you need to build your film from the ground up. It's no use coming up with an elaborate script only to discover you haven't the funds to do it properly, so in these cases, less can most definitely be more. This tale is perfect for such ambitions, involving just three cast members, no extra's, no props that can't be bought from a shopping centre, and only three locations, only one of which really felt like it was used extensively. Sadly, short of telling you that this film involves one wealthy millionaires daughter, Alice Creed, being kidnapped and held for ransom by two men, Vic and Danny, who have meticulously plotted and planned this, elaborating on the plot would be giving away far too much.
It constantly twists and turns and yields another point to make you go 'ooh.' The best way I can think to put it is to compare it to the 'alternative interview' question, the one where a plane is going down and you need to decide whether to save the Doctor, the Priest or the Teacher, only to then be given the next bit of information, that the doctor's gay, the priest is a paedophile and the teacher films the two of them and posts it on the internet or something. Every few minutes just when you think you have the films ending figured out, you find out something bizarre that changes your perceptions on how things will pan out. Impressively, despite so desperately trying to shake everything up, I can't escape that feeling that I've seen it all before.
Now I certainly have nothing against keeping their audience on their toes, particularly when we get to films such as this. After all, a kidnapping story is hardly original in itself, but the twists have to make sense and here they often don't. Bizarre conversations and drastic events that completely change the nature of the film emerge so suddenly and without warning that they feel as though placed for the sole reason of jarringly altering your expectations, and we needed just a little more easing into them; a few more subtle hints placed throughout to suggest the big twist before it actually emerges. Without any previous indications, once the film's context changes it feels like the start of a new film rather than a continuation of the last.
And even when considering the events that don't spin the story upside down, the plot is simply tiring; a constant game of one-upmanship, the victim suddenly having the captors in hot water because they did something stupid, only for her to do something stupid in return and give them back control of the situation. It's all only saved from falling entirely flat by the incredible acting work, the three playing their sordid triangular relationships with a believability that almost compensates for it all. They never feel like caricatures, neither are they inhumane or without emotion, and as seeds of doubt are thrown into otherwise trusting relationships, we see how even the most carefully laid plan can succumb to the insecurity and paranoia of the human mind. It's certainly not without it's moments, but I certainly can't say I feel particularly impressed.