Eddie Marsan is a fine actor. He has appeared in the likes of "Gangster No.1", "Vera Drake", "V for Vendetta", "Gangs of New York", "Sherlock Holmes", "Happy-Go-Lucky" and "Me and Orson Welles". That is a roll call that shows an actor with range and who is well respected within the industry...you don't work for the likes of Scorsese and Leigh if you don't have "something". He is a hugely talented actor and one who is always watchable.
Compare and contrast with the roll call of films that his co-stars in "Alice Creed", Martin Compston and Gemma Arterton. Compston arrived on the scene in "Sweet Sixteen" which was a tale of cheeky "wee laddie" from the West coast of Scotland surrounded by drug dealers and drug addicts...given that he was brought up in Greenock that didn't require a huge stretch of the imagination from him. Since then he has appeared in various Sunday night television fluff and not much else. The reason for that is plain to see in this film...he's not an actor. As for Gemma Arterton...she is an "actress" who has chosen to appear in not one but two "St Trinians" films and "The Boat That Rocked", do I have to say anything else?
Marsan plays "Vic" who, along with Compstons "Danny", kidnap the daughter of a wealthy man; Arterton as the eponymous "Alice". The two men have met in prison, become lovers and hit upon their plan as a means to get the money they need to start a new life together in sunnier climes. What Vic doesn't know is that Danny was the boyfriend of Alice before he went to prison and that he has a plan of his own which involves getting his hands on the ransom and heading off into the sunset with Alice to live happily ever after.
As one would expect things don't go according to plan and before the films end there have been a couple of (fairly obvious) twists on the road to the ransom. With its far from subtle sado-masochistic imagery and "edgy" gay hardmen characters it's obvious that director J Blakeson (a name that is only matched in the ridiculous stakes by McG) wanted to produce something really "dark". Sadly, for him and for us, this film is not dark, or edgy or even sexy (no matter how many shots he gives us of Arterton bound and gagged on a bed) instead its a fairly standard thriller...just with less thrills.