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Sometimes it happens: years after its theatrical release (if there was any), you come across a gem, and you wonder how the world (or myself, more specifically) could have missed it. Why I missed “The Disappearance of Alice Creed” in the first place, I don’t know. I don’t know whether it ever made its way beyond the festivals. How I found it I do know, however: Thanks to Firstshowing.net and their list of the best movies that I’ve missed. Klicking through the last couple of years, there were indeed some promising movies that I will have to catch up with.

“The Disappearance of Alice Creed” is a kidnapping story, and a straightforward one: five minutes into the film, I loved it for its depiction of the kidnappers diligently preparing for their hit,preparing the room they plan to keep their victim in, and the casual showing of the actual deed. Every move, it seems, has been professionally prepared and rehearsed, and it all goes down smooth as silk. That means, of course, that something will not be the way it appears to be, or that something will go not according to plan. Setting this turn of events through the sheer flawlessness of the preparations and initial stages is masterfully efficient story telling. After s short while, it will become sort of clear what the flaw in the plan is (or flaws, rather), and you are allowed to speculate which of the domino pieces will come down first. The three actors who take up all of the screen time are all splendid: In particular the ever-brilliant Eddie Marsan (who appeared to be kind of creepy even as driving instructor back in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky) pulls off the stunt of criminal mastermind and emotional wreck, trying to keep things from falling to pieces.

For what it is, the film is almost perfect: a genre thriller that plays with the audience and its characters’ emotions, and with the interesting message that sometimes crime does pay off, if sometimes not for those you thought it would.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/disappearance_of_alice_creed/

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