The Disappearance Of Alice Creed
The debut feature of British writer-director J Blakeson begins in bravura fashion. Wordlessly two men steal a transit van, purchase the necessary tools and materials, and set about transforming an empty flat into a fortified cell, complete with insulated soundproofing. The plan of these two ex-cons, fortyish Vic (Eddie Marsan) and twentysomething Danny (Martin Compston), is straightforward: they intend to kidnap the Alice Creed of the title (Gemma Arterton), the daughter of a wealthy businessman, and keep her tied up at their bolt-hole whilst they demand a ransom. Alice, however, refuses to meekly accept her fate.
A pared-down three-hander, restricted almost entirely to one stylized setting, The Disappearance of Alice Creed recalls the treacherous back-stabbings and claustrophobic environment of Shallow Grave. ‘I don’t want a narrative’ barks Vic at his accomplice Danny, whom he has earlier warned against ‘thinking too much’. In turn, Blakeson conjures up all manner of dramatic revelations and double-crosses, requiring the suspension of our disbelief at his story’s plausibility. The power dynamics amongst the trio are continually shifting, as roles are reversed and individual identities prove illusory. Smartly shot in windscreen on digital video, and showcasing a trio of fine performances, this never quite escapes the feel of a generic exercise: the actions of the characters here reveal the strings of the puppet-master screenwriter but commendable nevertheless.
Selected release from Fri 30 Apr.