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TIFF 2009: The Disappearance of Alice Creed

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Ong Bak 2: The Beginning

Today’s Picks
12:15 p.m. – Valhalla Rising (Scotiabank 3) – 4.5/5
2:30 p.m. – The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Elgin) – 4/5
3 p.m. – Max Manus (Varsity 8) – 3/5
6:30 p.m. – Karaoke (Jackman Hall) – 4/5
7 p.m. – Enter The Void (AMC 9)
9 p.m. – Future Projections: The Essential 100 & Festival Wrap Party (Yonge-Dundas Square)
9 p.m. – Free screening of the Cadillac People’s Choice Award winner (Elgin)
9:30 p.m. – The Disappearance of Alice Creed (Ryerson) – 4/5
11:59 p.m. – Ong Bak 2: The Beginning (Ryerson)
After the jump, a review of tonight’s screening of The Disappearance of Alice Creed.


Today’s Review

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The Disappearance of Alice Creed

The Disappearance of Alice Creed (J Blakeston)
A film that pores over the experience of a woman being kidnapped, lingering on her terror and the minutiae of her abduction, sounds exactly like the kind of film that we don’t want to see, but thanks to the advance buzz, we decided to check out The Disappearance of Alice Creed anyway. We were amazed to find how quickly the film won us over. Beginning with a masterful sequence in which we watch the captors prepare the apartment where they intend to detain Alice, the film manages to skilfully maintain its suspense across its length—in particular, without relying on cheap music cues, though it’s largely thanks to incredibly fine performances, with particular praise going to Martin Compston (best known for his role in Sweet Sixteen, though he was also briefly in The Damned United, which played this year at TIFF). But The Disappearance of Alice Creed is a little too well put-together—as it progresses, it’s too transparently “designed”: the plot is a mess of twists that clunk, but then click into place. These clunky shifts in the dynamic between the characters jar, but it’s to the writing’s credit that the character’s reactions to these unbelievable situations are so believable that it draws you right back in. A utterly confident feature debut, The Disappearance of Alice Creed fits the definition of “thriller” to a tee. 4/5

The Disappearance of Alice Creed plays tonight at 9:30 p.m. at the Ryerson Theatre.

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