Clash Of The Titans. Prince Of Persia. It’s been a big year for Gemma Arterton.
But while starring roles in two of the year’s glitziest blockbusters did wonders for her profile, they didn’t exactly stretch her Rada-honed talents.
Luckily, sandwiched between those tentpoles was this pared-down indie thriller – Arterton’s well-timed middle finger to her sneering detractors.
As titular kidnap victim Alice, she bravely bares all (emotionally and, in one uncomfortable scene, literally) – running the gamut from scared little rich girl to feisty table-turner with credible conviction.
It’s not quite that simple, though, as writer/director J Blakeson’s first feature twists and turns through a constantly evolving power play between Alice and her two captors – snarling control freak Vic (an imposing, unpredictable Eddie Marsan) and young schemer Danny (Sweet Sixteen’s Martin Compston, making just as much of an impact as his female co-star).
Blakeson successfully takes Godard’s ‘girl and a gun’ theory and runs with it – wringing near Hitchcockian levels of tension from a sparse yet well thought-out set-up.
OK, so some of the plot’s revelations aren’t entirely unforeseeable, but this is a taut, gripping debut nonetheless.
As for Arterton? Who needs gods and monsters when you’ve got a 9mm…
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