Monday, 24 January 2011

The Disappearance of Alice Creed - Phil's Five Words for Films

The Disappearance of Alice Creed This is a nicely put together British thriller that twists and turns its way through a very uncomfortable opening premise and takes you on a totally unexpected journey. Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston play a couple of ex-cons who spend the first few minutes of the film silently preparing a bedroom to house a hostage. Gemma Arteton is excellent as the feisty kidnap victim and the tension between the 3 characters helps the film maintain it's uncomfortable feel throughout. The opening kidnap scenes are hard to watch and seem to be taking the film in unsavoury directions but the twists soon turn the film on it's head. First-time writer/director J Blakeson has created a minimalistic, character driven thriller reminiscent of the original 'Saw' film without the gore. It is only at the closing credits that you realise just how much has been achieved on a very limited budget. A gritty script and some fine performances draw you in to the action. Thrilling and twisty.

7.5 out of 10.
Cert 18 (uk). 2009.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Catfish - Phil's Five Words for Films -

Catfish It's difficult to review a documentary film like Catfish, that relies on the unfolding of a story to keep you hooked, without giving anything away. Even the title is designed to keep you in the dark. The film makers are either extremely lucky and opportunistic to stumble upon such an intriguing story or they have put together an extremely well made 'fake-umentary'. Either way, the story plays out beautifully and is handled with a great deal of grace and sensitivity. Nev Schulman is filmed by his brother, Ariel and his friend Henry Joost as they carefully unravel the online world he has been drawn in to. What could have been a cheap and exploitative film is crafted in to a moving snapshot of on-line relationships and Facebook ' friends'. Touching, funny, fresh and well made, this is a salutary tale of the modern cyber world. Well worth a watch.

8 out of 10.
Cert12A (uk). 2010.