The Disappearance of Alice Creed is a movie about a girl and her two kidnappers. It’s well-written, well-acted, well-shot and generally well-done. It’s also not much of a story; things happen, yes, but they don’t amount to much. There are some truly cool moments, but they are spoiled by characters being silly, and in the end the plot comes down to little more than ambiguous characters with a heavy dose of coincidence.
The actors are all fantastic, particularly Eddie Marsan. It’s odd and depressing, though, that this movie gets described by critics as “finally allowing Gemma Arterton to show off her acting chops” whereas her performance in Prince of Persia is frequently trashed. Why? In Prince of Persia she was charming, witty, and attractive. Here she screams and cries a lot. Just because the one movie is an adventure story and the other a drama does not mean that the one takes less talent than the other. Personally, I find it a lot harder to be charming, and I’m pretty sure most critics do too.
One final complaint. The movie has some genuinely funny moments, but it also has an unintentionally funny one. You see, fairly in the beginning the kidnappers strip Alice naked to take photos of her. Her breasts are prominently featured. Fine, it makes sense in terms of the plot. However, she is completely naked, and the movie doesn’t want to show her genitals, so it starts to do an Austin Powers routine of using just the right angles, or having someone standing in front of just that spot… by accident. It’s like the scene in Robert Zemeckis’ otherwise quite good Beowulf, when Beowulf is fighting naked and strategically placed swords keep getting in the way. Funny? Yes. Good for the movie? No.
Anyway, that’s The Disappearance of Alice Creed. A pretty decent thriller with really good performances. Enjoy it for what it is.