The Vanishing (1988)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Oct 27, 1988 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - France , Netherlands   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Lucia Bozzola

A thriller free of onscreen violence, George Sluizer's original Dutch-French version of The Vanishing (1988) reveals the capacity for evil lurking beneath the most banal surfaces and the dangers of wanting to know too much. Adapted by Sluizer and Tim Krabbé from Krabbé's novel The Golden Egg and set in brightly bland every day locations like a highway rest stop and a country home, the story of a woman's sudden disappearance becomes a creepily deliberate examination of both the psychologically crippling impact of her vanishing on her lover, and the criminal's unfathomable motives. Shifting point of view midway through the film with an extended flashback, the viewer seems to learn everything there is to know about the crime yet what remains unseen, and the unspoken implications of what is known, deepen the disturbing effect as well as enhance the suspense. With an ending that offers chillingly inevitable closure devoid of any uplift, The Vanishing was not released in the U.S. until 1991; critics and art house audiences, though, embraced The Vanishing's resolutely dark vision. Sluizer's 1993 American remake of The Vanishing, however, became a star vehicle for Kiefer Sutherland and Jeff Bridges executed with far less subtlety.