Is there such a thing as “a job going exactly according to plan”?
Two kidnappers, Vic (Eddie Marsan) and Danny (Martin Compston) have a secret, super duper shady plan of holding the daughter of a rich businessman hostage. Why? Well it’s a known-fact that she’s got a lot of money attached to her name and that her daddy would be more than willing to throw down any hefty sum of money to get her back into his arms and make sure that everything’s okay and fine. And for the longest time, the plan goes together perfectly. The daughter, Alice Creed (Gemma Arterton), is found, kidnapped and put away silently in this bed and tied-up. She’s given food to eat, a pot to piss and/or do other stuff in, and a bed to sleep in, even though she doesn’t have much else choice to do much else. And hell, her father seems to not have contacted the cops and willing to meet-up to exchange the money. So yeah, it seems like everything’s going perfectly according to plan, until, well, it doesn’t and all of a sudden, everybody starts to turn on one another and question the other’s motives.
The first thirty or so minutes of Alice Creed is actually quite interesting. We see a lot of planning going into setting the room and stage-up for where the abductee will be taken, but we don’t hear these guys utter a single word. We know that they’re setting up for a kidnapping, due to the title, but because everything so perfectly and meticulously planned-out, it’s actually quite chilling, while also intriguing because, well, this is how one would want to create a hostage situation. Granted, I hope to never be involved with one, but if I were to all of a sudden be in a huge pinch for money, I’d probably use this movie’s first half-hour as a guideline on what to do.
And even when Alice Creed, the character, does end-up getting kidnapped, it’s still interesting. We have no clue why this character is getting kidnapped in the first placed, how it all happened, and what kind of relationship these characters have with one another, if any at all. We don’t ever see the actual kidnapping itself, so yeah, the mystery’s always up in the air, but what do these characters mean to one another? Are they all pals doing these secret things to one another? Or are they all just strangers, set-up to ensure that no problems ensue with said kidnapping?
Well, eventually, we begin to get the answers to these puzzling questions and sadly, that’s about the same time when Alice Creed, the movie, gets to be a bit of a bore.
After a certain moment, it becomes clear that writer/director J Blakeson is perfect at setting the stage up for what could be a very interesting, if sometimes exciting thriller, but doesn’t really know where to go after all the said setting up. There’s plenty of twists here, which is fine, but after about the ninth or tenth, it becomes to be a bit of overkill. Which wouldn’t be such a problem if the actual twists and turns were the least bit believable or interesting, but most of them feel placed-in as a desperate way of spicing things up, or just ripped from other movies that are, in some cases, many times better than this one.
The only interesting aspect of the movie that stays as such probably throughout, is the actual cast themselves. Considering that there’s literally nobody else in this movie, other than three ones we get in the first half-hour, it goes without saying that they should probably all be solid actors, doing exceptional work, in a movie that’s in desperate need of it. And with Alice Creed‘s case, that’s definitely the case, even if the script itself doesn’t offer them much room to breath or stretch their limbs out.
But to be honest, it’s hard to talk about all of these characters without spoiling just exactly who, or what they mean to the overall story.
Gemma Arterton’s Alice Creed is a bit of a whiny, stuck-up rich girl who clearly isn’t used to being put into a situation like this, but then again, how could she be? Eddie Marsan’s Vic is a tough-as-nails, quiet, and brooding baddie who doesn’t have anytime for jokes or games, and just wants to get this all over and done with, as well as he should. And Martin Compston’s Danny is, well, the softer and sweeter of the two baddies, even though it becomes awfully clear why he is and ultimately, ends up showing something of a softer side throughout the rest of the movie.
Each one here is fine and do exactly what they should in a movie that doesn’t seem to be all that well-equipped to help them out, but it’s a bit disappointing, because this movie could have been a very interesting, character-driven thriller. However, because it’s all about where the plot is moving, what can happen to keep things fun, and what sort of twists and turns can come out of nowhere, it never gets the chance to be anything. Maybe, just maybe, the movie’s a bit too big for its own good and doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of “downplaying”, but really, that’s expecting a tad bit too much. After all, Alice Creed is just another low-key thriller; it may not be wanting to be a smart, intriguing character-piece about what people do in situations like kidnappings, but it certainly could have been and it’s a bit disappointing that it didn’t take itself any further.
Especially since, well, the groundwork was already laid-out quite well.
Consensus: Given the solid cast on-hand, the Disappearance of Alice Creed feels more disappointing than it should, given that after the first half-hour, it loses all direction and sense of what keeps a plot interesting, and that’s believability.
5.5 / 10