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Today is the start of a new feature for Entertainment Fuse, BritFlicks which aims to celebrate the cinema of my nation. Some will be big, well known movies, others being much smaller affairs. In this installment of BritFlick, we’ll start with the low budget thriller The Disappearance of Alice Creed.
First time writer/director J Blakeson delivered a tort, tight thriller, using a limited setting and a cast of three actors to fullest. The Disappearance of Alice Creed tells the story of how two men, Vic (Eddie Marsan) and Danny (Martin Compston) who kidnap, Alice (Gemma Arterton), the daughter of a wealthy man so they can collect a ransom; but the film twists and turns as the characters relationships and pasts play out.
Blakeson is an in demand director and he showed great skills with this debut. He shows ambition with the first ten minutes, as Vic and Danny make their preparations for the kidnapping with only one word being spoken. Blakeson keeps a tense, tension filled atmosphere going throughout the movie as the characters play off against each other and the audience is never sure on where things stand.
Only three actors were present throughout The Disappearance of Alice Creed, with each of them having to play off one another. Blakeson and his team find excellent performers from the UK. Marsan, often a reliable supporting actor, gives his trademark menace and being a stocky thug which is common in British cinema and television, whilst twisting it enough to give the character of Vic both depth and ability. Arterton conveys the terror Alice suffers with authenticity, even if she is stuck in the dismal in distress role, whilst Compston is able to bring out the ambiguity as the submissive kidnapper with his own agenda.
Blakeson has a deliberately simplistic style, using a duller color palette and understated costume designs and set-design. He lets the action play out, with lingering camera shots and wide shots and occasional quick cuts. Blakeson was not afraid to be hard hitting, willing to use nudity and violence to add to the terror that Alice suffers. There is no-holds-barred approach throughout the movie and Blakeson had no designs of playing it safe, keeping a grim look and setting throughout and ensuring a tight and claustrophobia experience.
The Disappearance of Alice Creed is a fast paced thriller that uses its minimalistic approach to its fullest. Blakeson shows great potential as a director, providing plenty of grit and his debut feature serves a great example of a first-time film should be.