The Vanishing (1988): an intriguing movie

A fascinating Thai film: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)
The Vanishing was the movie I did not expect. I have never heard of it, and I was quite surprised when it turned out to be in Dutch and French (actually, it is mostly French). The director, George Sluizer, is a Dutch filmmaker, but this one is the only popular (and based on rating remarkable) film that he made.
Before watching The Vanishing, I expected a film that would keep me thrilled throughout it, but I was wrong. For almost 2 hours, the film kept me on the edge of my seat. I think I’ve made a dozen theories before the end because it felt so strange.
Have you ever felt that danger can be hidden in plain sight? Do you like watching crime documentaries? Would you like to see how the mind of a criminal works? Specifically, someone who tries to be a criminal? Then you should try The Vanishing.
The Vanishing revolves around a couple who goes to France for cycling, and one of the lovers disappears mysteriously. The other part consists of a chemistry teacher and his unusual hobbies. The other lover becomes quite obsessed with the lover’s disappearing and tries to find her. At some point, the guy and the chemistry teacher will meet each other. But what happens from now on is quite a thrilling ride.
What is good about it?
#1st thing: the atmosphere
What struck me from the first minutes was the atmosphere. From the very beginning, you can sense that although things seem pretty and chill, something is watching over everybody. And at every pace, something bad may happen.
That may consume you as much as it consumes our unfortunate main character. Even you find out what happened, there is still some sort of terror lying around!
#2nd thing: the characters
Although it may seem a bit surprising, I think that the characters are pretty good. They are not your typical Hollywood couple or your typical super criminal, but regular people. And regular people are silly and make mistakes. Regular people do not have everything planned. They are naïve and charming, so they fall easily into traps.
Why do I consider them pretty good? Because they remind us that the danger is usually hidden, and you do not know when it can hit you. As one of the characters says, it is” a matter of chance”. It is better to keep your guard up.
#3rd thing: cinematography
Some scenes are stunning. Other times, the emotion captured in every still is so raw that it makes the stills powerful. The rest of the time, I think is well-filmed, but it conveys the spirit of the age.
The Vanishing
Still from The Vanishing
The Vanishing
Still from The Vanishing
The Vanishing
Still from The Vanishing
What is not-so-good about it?
I think that some scenes might feel a bit weird. They are not necessarily bad, but just weird. Like some jokes, or scenes in the chemistry teacher’s family. I am a bit confused regarding this aspect because those jokes shape the character, making him realistic, but at the same time is an odd feeling.
I am not a huge fan of the soundtrack even though the songs are well-placed in the film and fitting. Maybe it is a bit too pushy for my taste.
The pacing of the film is somehow a bit odd. I felt as if I was watching chapters and the transition from one to another felt weird. These transitions should have been a bit more fluid.
Overall, I think that the movie reached my expectations, and it was exactly what it promised to be. Arguably, some parts may be worse or better than I said as everybody experiences the film differently. Don’t think that you will get glamorous characters that will act exactly as you expect them to act.
If you are going to watch The Vanishing, you should know that is only 1h46minutes long. It is easy to follow, so you can watch it almost anytime. If you are in the mood for a chill movie, check this movie out.


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