This low-budget Brit thriller opens ominously, with two blokes we come to know as Danny (Martin Compston) and Vic (Eddie Marsan) wordlessly soundproofing the back of a van and a room in an abandoned apartment block, and fitting both out with confinement gear. They operate with a sense of purpose and efficiency. Whatever they’re up to, you know it’s no good.
Of course, it can be safely assumed from the title of the movie that Alice Creed (Gemma Arterton) – whoever she is – will be their prey, but at this point you’re not sure why. Are they politically motivated, perhaps? Involved in some sort of espionage? Planning on incarcerating some hapless victim as a sex slave? Or just crims after a ransom?
Well, I ain’t giving nuthin’ away. The most enjoyable aspect of a movie like this is the gradual unpeeling of the narrative onion.
That doesn’t leave me with much to build a review on!
I can say that the first half of the movie is full of tension and intrigue, as the relationships between the characters are slowly revealed and it becomes apparent that all is not as it initially seems.
Alas, cracks appear as plausibility issues emerge. For example, Danny tries to dispense of a bullet casing by flushing it down the toilet. Of course, it sits at the bottom of the bowl, and still he persists in trying to flush it away. That’s just dumb – and he is not a stupid character. More thought required, writer!
Further, early in the movie, Danny and Vic carry Alice kicking and screaming into the apartment in which she is to be held captive; when they move her to an isolated warehouse as the story approaches its climax, they inject her with a sedative that renders her unconscious. So why didn’t they sedate her on capture? Woulda made things a whole lot easier, surely?
Logic flaws like this are forgivable, providing tension is maintained and the narrative remains on track. Unfortunately, three quarters of the way through, things begin to unravel. As the story progresses towards its conclusion it runs out of imaginative juice. The plot twists clunk, and there are a couple too many of them, which lays bare the game the writer is playing with the audience. The best thrillers maintain intrigue without obvious contrivance.
The three actors do a fine job, but director/writer J Blakeson’s screenplay ultimately derails the movie. A pity. This is his first feature film. With more work on the script, it could have been an auspicious debut, instead of merely promising.
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