The Disappearance of Alice Creed (DVD Review)

I spent this whole movie with one thought burning through my brain – who is the actress playing Alice Creed and where do I know her from. In this movie, I watched her fight, listened to her talk and scream, saw her topless and still couldn’t figure it out. As I begin writing this review, the light bulb comes on in my head and I realize that she is the woman from Prince of Persia. The actress, Gemma Arterton, may have had a long career and Prince of Persia may be the least interesting thing people know her from – but it’s where I know her from and I am thoroughly proud of myself for figuring it out without the assistance of a Google search!


Ever wondered how to take an empty apartment and turn it into a prison for the woman you just kidnapped? This film starts as a how to video that will teach you exactly that. You’ll follow our two kidnappers, played by Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston, as they choose the right bed to shackle poor Alice to, bolt it to the floor and apply sound proof material to the walls. Future kidnappers/serial killers of the world, take notes. These two appear as though they have paid attention to a few episodes of CSI, and have learned to cover their tracks well. They seem to be the most methodical, well organized kidnappers I have ever seen. I begin thinking that if everything goes according to plan, these is going to be a very boring movie. That is not the case.

This British crime thriller, written and directed by J Blakeson, does not use blood and gore, but is definitely what I would all graphically realistic. Topics such as when and how a kidnap victim uses the bathroom are thoroughly detailed. There is (both hetero and homo) sexual content – this is definitely not one of those R rated films you would still show a mature teenager.

This is not one of those movies, where the kidnappers are really likable either. They aren’t good people in extreme circumstances who you start to feel for. Surprisingly, the kidnap victim isn’t little miss innocent either. There are a lot of twists and turns, some expected and some not. I’m not a fan of spoilers in movie reviews so I will leave it at that. (Turns out I saved my spoiler for my final thoughts – but don’t say I didn’t warn you).

I am a fan of movies where bad stuff happens. I enjoyed watching the bad stuff unfold in this film. It’s interesting that there are only three actors in this film. I’ve never seen such a short cast list, but all three actors did a great job carrying the film.


As will all movies in existence, I would have rather seen this on the Blu Ray format and know the Blu Ray video quality would be far superior. But for DVD, this was not bad. A great portion of the movie takes place inside one apartment, so I wouldn’t say that the director really pushed the limits of DVD video quality. Rather than the standard bars at the top and bottom of the screen this movie had a black box all around. I’m used to watching wide-screen movies, and didn’t find it particularly bothersome.  The flesh-tones were consistent and the detail was acceptable for a DVD.


English, Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is offered, along with English and Spanish subtitles. This just may be my own personal problem but I could have used the subtitles a few times to understand the dialogue. I realize the kidnappers were speaking English at all times, but there were a few lines where I paused the movie, turned up the sound a little, and hit rewind, so that this California girl could make sense of the conversation between the British and (I’m guessing Scottish) bad guys.  This is a mostly front channel mix but the soundtrack is spread across all of the channels and the sub-woofer is well utilized by that too.  There’s some minor ambient effects on the satellite speakers but this is mainly a center speaker mix. Overall, the sound quality was pretty good but not great.

Special Features  

I enjoyed the special features but I wish there was more of them.  What is available was very interesting but I think that an in depth behind the scenes featurette would have added a lot to the extras.  Here is what is available:

Outtakes – It’s enjoyable to see the actors crack up during such serious scenes.

“Phones” deleted scene – Not extremely interesting. Available with commentary turned on or off.

“Alice Gets the Gun” extended scene – Watching this with the commentary turned on, I found the director’s comments very interesting. He explains the difficulties in this scene and some specifics of how and why it was shot in the manner that it was. Future/wannabe filmmakers might enjoy the details.

Storyboard Comparison – It was interesting to see the storyboarded visions come to life.

Theatrical Trailer – Trailer represents the film well. This is not one of those movies where anything interesting is found in the trailer. Had I seen that first, which I did not, I would have wanted to see the film so I’d call that a successful trailer.

* Note about the Audio Commentary with Writer/Director J Blakeson – this is found in the set up menu under audio.  It’s not actually part of the special features menu like you would think.

Final Thoughts  

I know I said a few paragraphs earlier that I am not a fan of spoilers in movie reviews but I do have one small detail to comment on. Whether it’s Batman, or this film, I don’t understand why people can hide their identities from friends or loved ones with a mask (and scratchy voice in the case of Batman). If my husband were to put on a ski mask, and stick a gun to my head, I would know that my kidnapper was not a stranger. In the case of my husband, I would probably notice a Star Wars T-Shirt sticking out from under his kidnapper overalls and there would be a Star Wars blaster or Star Trek phaser present instead of a handgun. Visual clues aside, I would be certain who was kidnapping me once he spoke!

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9 Responses to “The Disappearance of Alice Creed (DVD Review)”

  1. Brian White

    Hmm…I don’t know if you know this or not Jami, but you already sold me on this in your first paragraph. 🙂 Now are we sure there were no body doubles? I’m just checking.

    I cannot wait to own this on Blu-ray in T minus 2 weeks.

    So are you saying this won’t make a good movie for the whole family to watch on Thanksgiving?

    Anytime you have any doubt about who Gemma is, look me up.

    You put sick thoughts in my head. I keep seeing Sean, in my mind, with a ski mask on and a faded navy blue Star Wars shirt on. 🙂

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    I was gonna say, opening a paragraph with not knowing who Gemma is will surely get Brian’s attention, let alone the notion of her being topless (no doubles Bri Bri) :).

  3. Brian White

    Ha ha…leave it to Aaron to make me laugh. 🙂 I’m almost afraid to see what Gerard is going to write. It’s not Cate Blanchett or that other girl from Sean’s one review so it ought to be interesting.

  4. Sean Ferguson

    It’s definitely her Brian so obviously you will need to get this in high definition! I wasn’t really interested in this movie until I read Jami’s review so I might give it a shot now.

  5. Gerard Iribe

    I’m interested. Hell, the blu-ray has been out in the UK for a while now. I’ll probably just wait and rent it when it hit stateside.

  6. Brian White

    It’s pretty funny…I can see people landing on this review from Google searches typing in “does Gemma use a body double in Alice Creed.” Ha ha. Priceless!

  7. Jami Ferguson

    Maybe for Gemma fans we should add a category called “boobs”. If we did, I would comment they are definitely hers and Brian will enjoy them in Blu Ray! For many, many, many reasons, this is not a family film for Thanksgiving Day. Instead, try It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and save Alice Creed until the kids go to bed.

  8. Brian White

    Less than a week until I get to see Gemma in all her Blu-ray glory here! 🙂

  9. Brian White

    Finally saw this last night! What a great flick! It may…just may…be in my Top 10 films of the year. We’ll see. But yes, it was definitely Gemma the whole entire time 🙂 Thank you!