The Disappearance of Alice Creed is what would probably usually be called a "stylish thriller". We're not talking George Clooney style here, we're talking about gritty, true-to-life cinema. If the character would swear in real life, they swear in the film. If there'd be violence, there is. The only real deviation from that is in the necessary fiction required to drive the plot, which is well crafted with all the twists and turns you might expect from a really well planned short story.
A cast of thousands this certainly is not - in fact, only three people appear on screen in the entire film. If you're a fan of Reservoir Dogs, with its ensemble cast, clearly laid out situation and dedication to driving the events towards that scene, rather than taking the actors to where the action is, then you should find something to like in The Disappearance of Alice Creed. If you're not much of a cinema fan, just buy it for the chance to see Gemma Arterton nude in high definition.
If you're a red-blooded male, the aforementioned nudity will no doubt be a plus point for this film. Strangely though, the sight of Gemma Arterton nude in context is neither gratuitous nor distracting. It fits seamlessly into the plot and, as far as I can tell, was only ever written into the script because it's what would happen in real life.
Beyond that, co-stars Martin Compston and Eddie Marsan carry what at many times is a two-man film, particularly for the first phase of the plot. I don't want to ruin any of the twists if you haven't seen The Disappearance of Alice Creed yet but, suffice to say, this is not one of those psychological thrillers where nothing happens. Each character has their part to play, and each actor delivers the powerhouse performance required.
For the sake of completion, I should make totally clear that I'm referring to the Blu-ray edition of the movie - if you have the necessary equipment at home, you should definitely consider paying the little extra it takes to get the HD version of this film. Extras include:
- audio commentary with director J Blakeson
- extended scene with commentary
- making-of documentary
- UK and US trailers
If you don't have a Blu-ray player, a DVD version is also available and I'm sure there's not so much lost in standard definition as there might be with, say, Avatar.
Anyway, either version of the movie promises a challenging watch in terms of the subject matter, but with the reassurance that you're in the safe hands of the rapidly developing talent that is Gemma Arterton. Impossible to pigeon-hole, her eponymous performance here is both compelling and captivating. I look forward to seeing - and owning - more of her work in the years to come.
Final Score: 74%