Film: The Disappearance Of Alice Creed
The Disappearance of Alice Creed
is a 2009 British thriller film directed by J Blakeson starring Gemma Arterton, Martin Compston, and Eddie Marsan.
Two men, Danny and Vic, kidnap resident rich girl Alice Creed and hold her up for a $2 million ransom to be paid by her wealthy father. They keep her Bound and Gagged
and Chained to a Bed
in a soundproof room, making sure to keep her fed, hydrated, and alive to ensure that her father gives them the money. Although Vic is a calm and seasoned professional, this is Danny’s first involvement in a kidnapping, and his doubts and hesitation may threaten their chances of success.
This film contains examples of:
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Danny is a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, who plays both Vic and Alice for his own gains.
- Badass Damsel: Alice might be a kidnapped girl, but she's not an Extreme Doormat.
- Banging for Help: Alice occasionally screams for help while gagged, but for the most part, this is futile since the room where she is being kept was soundproofed by the kidnappers.
- Bound and Gagged: Alice throughout most of the film.
- Bullying a Dragon: Done purposefully by Danny on Vic, when the latter is having doubts about their plan.
- Bury Your Gays: In a sense, since Vic and Danny are dead at the end of the film.
- Chained to a Bed: Alice, Bound and Gagged to boot. Later on, Danny as well, when Alice tricks him and tries to escape.
- Character Development: In the beginning, Vic is shown as an amoral ex-convict who is perfectly willing to kill an innocent person if it will benefit him, while Danny is something between his Morality Pet and Reckless Sidekick. In the end, Vic dies as a Noble Demon and Danny is shown as irredeemable, which he was probably from the start.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The bullet and its shell casing.
- The cell phone is another one.
- Cold Open: If you don't know what the film is about (which is rather hard to do), the opening is one of the best teasers in years. Also, there is no title screen until the last frames making the ending ambiguous.
- Death Equals Redemption: Played straight with Vic, who is perfectly willing (if reluctant,) to murder an innocent person if it will benefit him, but does what he can to save her when he knows he's about to die anyway. Subverted with Danny, who leaves Alice (who he supposedly loves,) to starve to death while he runs off with the money, even though it later turns out his wound was fatal and so the Moral Event Horizon was pointless.
- The Dog Bites Back: After verbal abuse, constant orders, and being shot twice and left for dead by Vic, Danny turns on Vic by killing him and taking the money in the final act.
- Eat the Evidence: Happens when Danny is trying to get rid of the shell casing from the shot Alice fired so that Vic doesn't know she got a hold of his gun. This ends up with a Vomit Indiscretion Shot and the item reappearing, forcing Danny to eat it yet again.
- Genre Savvy: Vic definitely knows what he's doing, and does not give Alice any chance whatsoever to escape or cause trouble. Danny, not so much.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Vic. He really loves Danny. He don't want to harm Alice... too much.
- Hostage Video: The kidnappers make one of these to prove to Alice's father that she is alive and to have her reinforce that they will kill her if her father does not pay. Vic knows what he's doing with this, and re-films it when Alice tries to give information about the kidnappers, and doesn't look scared enough to make their point.
- I Have a Family: Subverted. Alice attempts to invoke this by telling the kidnappers she has a daughter. Unfortunately for her, they’ve done their research and know she’s lying.
- I Never Said It Was Poison: Vic is master of using this trope. First, he gets information from Alice, when she accidently calls Danny for help. Later, we got this exchange:
Vic: Just now... She was acting funny.
Danny: Why? What did she said?
Vic: Said? Why would you think she'd say anything? (few lines later) I didn't say she said anything.
- Ironic Echo: Early on, Vic reasures a slightly panicked Danny that everything is all right and that he needs Danny for the plan to succeed. Later on, it's Danny who must calm down Vic and recall to him that they both need each other.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique:
Danny: What happend to her face?
- The Law of Conservation of Detail
- Left for Dead: Vic shoots Danny and leaves him for dead in the middle of a forest after learning about Danny's plan to doublecross him. Unfortunately for Vic, Danny is Not Quite Dead, and is able to make it back to the warehouse in time to shoot and kill Vic.
- Love Redeems: Subverted. First, after Danny explains Alice that he did all of this because he loves her, she mocks him by saying that when you love someone, you don't kidnap said person. Later on, Danny shows his true colors when he abandons Alice to certain death.
- Manly Tears
- Minimalism: You meet the entire cast—a grand total of three people—in the first ten minutes or so, and the movie has maybe three or four different sets.
- Minimalist Cast: Two kidnappers. One girl.
- Not With the Safety On, You Won't
- The Peeping Tom: Danny, which in given circumstances is pure Squick, especially before The Reveal.
- Potty Emergency: The kidnappers give Alice a signal so that they know when she needs to go to the bathroom. They also do not intend to give her any chance to escape while doing so, and make her urinate into a jug while still chained to the bed.
- Precision F-Strike:
Vic: FUCK that!
- Prison Rape: It sounds like Vic protected Danny from this while they were in prison, but since they then have their own relationship in which Vic is bullying and domineering, how consensual their relationship was is questionable. Vic does seem to truly love Danny in his own way, but Danny clearly does not reciprocate.
- Punch a Wall: Happens when Vic realizes Danny intended to doublecross him by killing him and running off with Alice and the money.
- Reckless Sidekick: Danny seems like this in comparison to Vic. At first he reluctantly follows Vic's orders despite Vic having more experience and acting in the best interests of cleanly getting away with the crime. On top of that, he seems to become attracted to the hostage. Later, he’s stupid enough to leave his back turned after untying Alice, allowing her to grab his gun. When it’s revealed that Danny knew Alice before the kidnapping, he unties her in order to have sex with her, allowing her to trick him and handcuff him to the bed while she runs out of the room to call the police.
- The Reveal: A few notable ones include:
- Alice knowing Danny beforehand.
- Danny's plan to doublecross Vic, take the money, and run off with Alice.
- Danny and Vic are lovers, which is how Danny ensures that he can trust Vic enough to pick up the money alone.
- The Reveal Prompts Romance: Subverted. When Danny takes off his mask to show Alice who he is, he expects her to become comfortable with him. When he unties Alice to have sex with her, she manages to cuff him to the bed, and says that if he really cared about her, he never would have orchestrated her kidnapping in the first place.
- Rich Bitch: Upon discovering Danny's plan, one of Alice's first questions is how much money they might make from her father. At the end, she is quite willing to drive off with the money and let her father and everyone else think she's dead.
- It's strongly implied Alice doesn't get on with her Dad, for whatever reason. He did hand over the ransom money, yes, but that was to stop her being murdered. After going through an experience like that, I don't blame her for wanting to run away.
- Shameful Strip: Happens to Alice when she is first brought to the room and tied to the bed. Gets worse when she is forced to urinate and defecate in front of them because Vic is too Genre Savvy to let her be unhandcuffed or unattended for even a moment.
- Spoiler Title:
- Viewers know by the title alone what will happen during the opening.
- The ending subverts it, because that's the moment when the title screen finally shows and it's given a completely new meaning.
- Straight Gay: Completely necessary for The Reveal to work.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill:
- When Alice got the chance to escape by shooting Danny and risking a fight with Vic, she chose to surrender.
- Subverted later on, when she's more than willing to kill Danny.
- Villainous BSOD: Vic suffers one when he learns that Alice knows his name and Danny intended to doublecross him.
- Villains Out Shopping: Literal example. And done in such way that it's more than creepy.
- Villain Protagonist: Vic and Danny simply got more screening time than Alice and half of the fun comes from watching their scheme in action.
- We Do Not Know Each Other: One-sided at first, then later on by both parties. Danny does not let Alice know he is one of the kidnappers because he believes that Alice would not be able to fake fear if she knew about his plan. Later after the first reveal, Alice and Danny need to make sure that Vic is unaware that they knew each other before the kidnapping in order to doublecross him.
- Would Hit a Girl: Both men in the film. Apart from the violence seen in her kidnapping, both Danny and Vic end up kicking Alice, choking her, or punching her at different points in the film.