DVD Review: The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2010)

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For criminals who kidnap purely for the ultimate goal of ransom, "it's not personal, it's just business," or at least, that's the intention.

And although it goes without saying that there's a tangible amount of horror involved for both the victim and those of us watching the events unfold onscreen, the entire transaction is treated like something akin to a heist for the professional villains involved.

But in The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Vic (Eddie Marsan) and Danny (Martin Compston) don't spend lots of time merely casing a joint, jotting down what time the armored car parks, or keeping tabs on the locations of security cameras in the area.

The impressive Neo Film-Noir effort opens with a meticulously edited, rapidly paced and downright pulse-pounding wordless sequence wherein writer/director J Blakeson documents the premeditated preparation and subsequent snatch-and-grab of actress Gemma Arterton's eponymous British millionaire's daughter by the two men whom we fear may have worked out every possible angle ahead of time.

However, it's safe to say that when human beings are involved, it's impossible to account for every possible variable that will arise once the two send proof of life and a demand for dough to Alice Creed's father.

And although personally I found it fairly easy to foreshadow the first of the otherwise ingenious and tightly crafted film's oft-discussed several major plot twists that continually offer us an new take on the three characters involved, I greatly admire the filmmaker's effort to keep us guessing from start to finish.

Creed is all the more thrilling when you acknowledge the fact that for his auspicious feature filmmaking debut, Blakeson only introduces us to three individuals throughout the course of the film.

Nonetheless, he manages to distract us from budgetary challenges involving limited sets along with technical and time constraints because like the villains we're watching, it's evident that he put a considerable amount of planning into staging the inevitably flawed crime they tried their damnedest to perfect.

Losing momentum after Blakeson's visceral, highly visual and unspeakably intense beginning, Creed gets bogged down a bit by some dubious character logic gaps as multiple opportunities are wasted for every individual to either confront, double cross or get away from their foes at one point or another as positions of power predictably shift during each filmed act.

And even though it's nearly impossible to resist the temptation to talk to the screen as if you can change the path the characters take from your easy chair, luckily for Blakeson and his talented trio (especially VIP Marsan), this gripping cat-and-mouse variation of a heist picture proves equally difficult to resist, thereby making Creed's Disappearance a vanishing act in which you won't mind losing yourself as well.

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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.