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Archive for May 3rd, 2010

This is not a review so you can happily read it without any spoilers!

I have seen two movies this weekend and am struggling to review both of them. Having just read the first draft of my Iron man 2 review I have to admit that it’s a rambling incoherent mess of a review. Some people may find that appropriate as the same could be said of the movie (although a mess it isn‘t actually a bad movie. Review tomorrow hopefully!). The other movie was The Disappearance of Alice Creed. I am struggling to review it for a different reason. As recommended by the director J Blakeson I went into the movie having not read anything about it, in turn it would be unfair of me to give anything away to other potential viewers. Sticking with what is common knowledge, Alice Creed (Gemma Arterton) is abducted by two masked men Danny (Martin Compston) and Vic (Eddie Marsan). If you have seen the trailer, you probably already know more than this. Like Roman Polanski’s Death and the Maiden the makes great use of a small cast and limited claustrophobic locations but this film takes that idea even further.

Anyone who listens to “Midnight Radio” aka “Matineecast“, the podcast form the blog The Dark of the Matinee will know that The Mad Hatter asks his guest if there is any movie they for any reason wish they had made. Whilst saying you wish you had made a movie is normally pure fantasy the beauty of The Disappearance of Alice Creed is that anyone with a movie camera could have made it. With a tiny cast, no special effects and most of the film set in just one location the film is a perfect example of what can be achieved with a minimal budget. With limitations often comes the greatest creativity, without giving anything away the opening ten minutes is approaching genius. In a Hollywood film the opening could easily have been a bloated forty minutes that would have been far less effective than the ten used here.

The film was made by the new Isle of Man based company CinemaNX whose first movie was Richard Linklater’s Me and Orson Welles. It is the first feature for director J Blakeson. With such a small cast a heavy burden is placed on them to perform and they do. All three stars do a great job. Gemma Arterton has come virtually out of know where in the last few to become a major star, in that time she has appeared in some big budget movies including Bond movie Quantum of Solace. Generally in that time she has been wholly unconvincing. Therefore it is probably no great surprise when I say that this is by far her best performance to date. Martin Compston came to fame in Ken Loach’s Sweet Sixteen, since then he has cropped up in many TV and movie roles, this is probably his most significant performance since his debut. Eddie Marsan has been appearing in movies for the best part of twenty years but has only come to prominence in the last few years with appearances in British and American movies. One of his best performances was as Scott the uptight driving instructor in Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), he was also in last years Sherlock Holmes and Me and Orson Welles.

A note on music, the song played at the end on the movie is “Holy Moly” by the little known but brilliant Cathy Davey from her 2004 debut album Something Ilk.

There is so much more I would like to say about the movie but really can’t at the this time. Maybe I will come back and review it properly at a later date. For now:

Four Stars out of Five

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