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The Vanishing (Criterion Collection) (1988)

Cast: Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Gene Bervoets, more...
Director: George Sluizer, George Sluizer
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Foreign, France, Netherlands, Criterion Collection
Running Time: 120 min.
Languages: French
Subtitles: English
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Based on Time Krabbe's The Golden Egg, The Vanishing is a deeply disturbing psychological thriller about a young man's search for his girlfriend after she disappears at a rest stop during a short trip. Over the course of three years, the man obsessively searches for her, using his spare time to put up posters and leave handbills, hoping that someone will give him a clue to the mystery surrounding her disappearance. The kidnapper, having watched the man for some time, is intrigued by his increasing obsession and finally contacts him. He then gives the man the opportunity to learn firsthand of his girlfriend's fate. The film, frightening and moving with a chilling conclusion, is a small masterpiece as director George Sluizer confronts and examines the true nature of evil and obsession. Sluizer remade The Vanishing in an American version four years after the release of the original Dutch film, inexplicably changing the shocking ending which gave the original film such power. ~ Linda Rasmussen, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

off and on my list. by Dayna October 11, 2007 - 6:45 AM PDT
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Every thing written is very true of this movie.
Intently nuanced and filmed in a kind of rustic style, it plays on the fears of the viewer and compels the viewer to both look away and to continue as if taking the same journeys as the victims.I personally have placed it on my queue several times only to remove . It's a movie that really tests my courage to experience it again.

Stuck with me for days by ahogue July 15, 2005 - 10:57 AM PDT
12 out of 12 members found this review helpful
The Vanishing is a thriller about a serial killer. It is one of the most understated and naturalistic films of its sort I have ever seen. There is not a single moment of melodrama, there is no mythologizing good and evil, and there is certainly no superhuman killer who "just won't die".

Your average filmmaker thinks that these things make a movie about a killer more exciting, but in fact such tired genre tropes distance the audience, making everything familiar and reassuring in its way. On the other hand, you have some more intelligent movies which use a very naturalistic style, but err by thinking they need to be unbearably gruesome, appearing to fetishize violence in a disgusting (and supposedly reflexive) way. The Vanishing avoids both of these pitfalls, and largely because of this it is more unsettling in its way than the others could ever be.

The character of the killer in particular is brilliant. He is perhaps the most boring person imaginable, but his psychology is fascinating. The film goes along for some time with relatively little action (it is not boring at all, but it is rather understated), and in many ways this film seems like an uncommonly gentle thriller, one which is not interested in cheap thrills, with assaulting you with horror, but with showing something much more believable. But once the movie is over the power of this approach becomes clear, and it is apt to stick with you for days, whether you want it to or not. It is not violent, it is not noisy; it is quiet, realistic and intelligent, and for this reason it is more disturbing than any thriller of its kind that I have seen.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.55)
265 Votes
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