The Disappearance of Alice Creed
by Jef Burnham
Coming to Blu-ray and DVD on November 23, 2010 from Anchor Bay Entertainment.
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This solid debut feature from writer/director J Blakeson is a tight, little, British thriller of the twisting-turning variety. Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes) and Martin Compston (Monarch of the Glen) star as Vic and Danny, two criminals who kidnap and hold for ransom the titular Alice Creed (Gemma Arterton, Quantum of Solace), the only daughter of a millionaire. Although Vic and Danny think their plan has been crafted to account for any and all contingencies, things inevitably go awry on their way to a predictably bloody climax.
With but three characters comprising the dramatis personae, Alice Creed is an unarguably small movie, taking place almost exclusively in the apartment rented by Vic and Danny to accommodate their caper. As such, Blakeson avoids the bombastic shoot-em-ups that typify most modern day thrillers, delivering instead a quiet, almost cautious, film that is narrow in scope but vast in its intrigue. Exemplifying this dichotomy is the intense 10-minute opening sequence in which Vic and Danny kidnap Alice. What might result in a big to-do from any other director, Blakeson presents with almost no dialogue whatsoever— the pair going about their work mechanically as though it were any other day. Of course, there are perhaps too many twists, and some elements of the narrative, though no doubt intended to be surprising, may be deduced by the viewer well in advance of their placement in the narrative. But Blakeson’s focus on character over action makes much of the predictability forgivable. While it may not rank among the greatest thrillers in cinema history, The Disappearance of Alice Creed is most definitely worth a rental.
Both the DVD and Blu-ray releases of Alice Creed include a commentary by J Blakeson, a storyboard featurette, deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary, and outtakes.
Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.
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