Movie review: ‘The Disappearance of Alice Creed’

“The Disappearance of Alice Creed,” a glum British kidnap movie in which writer-director J Blakeson manages to generate tension and some suspense, never rises above the mechanical and contrived, finally lapsing into the improbable. Its three-actor cast is admirably capable and dedicated, but the characters they are playing are stubbornly uninvolving. None, alas, is very bright, even the kidnap victim, and the psychological interplay between the three is trite.

“Patrik Age 1.5" rating: A review of the film “Patrik Age 1.5" in Friday’s Calendar section gave its Motion Picture Assn. of America rating as R. The film is being released unrated. —

Vic ( Eddie Marsan), a fierce, forceful middle-aged man, and Danny ( Martin Compston), his younger accomplice, methodically set up a dungeon within a high-rise apartment and imprison their attractive young victim Alice ( Gemma Arterton) there, stripping her and shackling her to a bed. This prolonged sequence, which is at once deeply repugnant but undeniably powerful is virtually wordless, but when the talking starts the film’s plot begins twisting in ways contrived rather than inspired. Blakeson’s direction is very straight-on, hit-the-nail-on-the-head, allowing only heavy-handed irony. A more oblique approach might have allowed for some welcome slyness and even dark humor. All the considerable effort that went into making this film cannot finally offset its aura of pointless morbidity.

“The Disappearance of Alice Creed.” MPAA rating: R for violent content, pervasive language and some sexuality/nudity. Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes. At Laemmle’s Sunset 5, West Hollywood; Monica 4-Plex, Santa Monica; Playhouse 7, Pasadena.