The Vanishing (Spoorloos)1988
The Vanishing (Spoorloos) (1988)
Critic Consensus: A clinical, maddening descent into the mind of a serial killer and a slowly unraveling hero, culminating with one of the scariest endings of all time.
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as Rex Hofman
as Saskia Wagter
as Raymond Lemorne
as Simone Lemorne
as Belgian Tourist
as Farmer Laurent
as TV Journalist
as Gisele Marzin
as Lemorne (Age 16)
as Pump Attendant
as Pump Attendant
as Lady `Prisunic'
as English Tourist
as English Tourist
as Belgian Tourist
as German Tourist
as Little Girl
as Cafe Owner
as Cop/Sports Presenter
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Critic Reviews for The Vanishing (Spoorloos)
The appalling, horrific climax of The Vanishing will haunt your mind long after this film is over.
It's a film that functions on curiosity rather than real interest (given the fact that the characters are thinly drawn and largely unsympathetic), yet in the end punishes the audience for wanting to have its questions answered.
Sluizer's direction is seamless throughout, effortlessly juggling domesticity and damnation as it ploughs inexorably towards an appaling dénouement.
Mr. Sluizer, whose direction has the spooky precision of nonfiction crime writing and whose matter-of-factness makes the characters seem quite real, builds a disturbing horror story from seemingly modest beginnings.
Director George Sluizer unfolds his story with non-hysterical -- but nonetheless unnerving -- precision. Vanishing is refreshingly free of manipulative scenes involving running bath water, jagged-edge cutlery and bunnies in the saucepan.
Audience Reviews for The Vanishing (Spoorloos)
Despite the fact that the characters (as well as the relationship between Rex and Saskia) are not so well developed, this is a spine-chilling thriller that relies on a gripping mystery and lets us slowly grasp the motivations of its fascinating villain toward a terrifying conclusion.
Edgar Allen Poe once said that, without a traceable motive, anyone can commit murder with impunity. The Vanishing instantly made me think about this quote for quite a while. An excellent, methodical and expertly directed film that confidently refuses to be labeled as a one genre, George Suizer's cautionary tale about obsession and how far we'll go to find truth is an art house triumph. This dark, brilliant film has been much-talked about since its release in 1988, and for good reason: only a few films have such immutable power, leaving you with mental images that stay with you long after its conclusion. This film's austere ending is a commentary on the prevalence of heartless evil in our society. Reduced to its simplest expression, there is no joy in nature. Make no mistake, this is an ugly film, but an utterly fascinating one at that. Rex and Saskia are two young lovers on holiday, alternately loving and fighting as close couples are won't to do. Their flaws are revealed, making them more endearing: during the drive he becomes macho and demanding, while she rebels and becomes petty and shrill. After the fight, they are closer than ever. One cares about these characters, can imagine their lives together for years to come, possibly even getting married. She's earthy and fun-loving, while he is quietly appreciative of her company. Oddly, she presages the forthcoming events by recounting a strange dream about a golden egg. These two seem a perfect match. The sun sets on their short romance when they stop at a rest area and she disappears. He hangs around the rest area for hours, long into the night looking for her and trying to reconstruct her footsteps through the rest area. The sense of desperation and mystery lingers, and it shows in his pained expression. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one can identify with his quiet, desperate longing. Several years later, Rex is still obsessed with Saskia's disappearance. His romantic partner, realizing that she can never take Saskia's place, walks out on him. Rex appears on talk shows, canvasses neighborhoods with flyers, and revisits their favorite places in an attempt to understand just why Saskia disappeared. This part is important: Rex wants to understand the nature of evil, and in order to successfully get through this film without lying awake all night with the ending forever running in your head, it's important to acknowledge this aspect of his character. The film cuts to Raymond, the man who kidnapped Saskia: you might have imagined a raving maniac, but instead you see a gentle, kindly older teacher with a wife and son, living in a well-appointed flat and driving a Citroen; he might just as well be Pere Noel on summer holiday. This film is constructed like a crime scene investigation. First we experience the disappearance firsthand, and then we go into the mind and life of Raymond, showing how he coldly planned and carried out the kidnapping with as much emotion as changing the oil in his car. It is this two-part process which slowly builds the powerful suspense in this film. We see how methodical he is in his approach to the planned kidnapping, and, impossibly, we even laugh at him: looking for a victim, he inadvertently makes a pass at a young woman he knows, and she calls him on it, saying that he should be ashamed of himself. It is this twist of fate that drives him to kidnap a young woman from the rest area, where no one is likely to know him. So the fates have brought him Saskia. Aware of Rex's obsession, Raymond offers to meet him in a public place and show him what happened to Saskia. Suffice it to say that the mystery of Saskia's disappearance is frighteningly revealed at last; listen closely and you can almost hear God laughing in the soundtrack. The ending is so genius that I wouldn't dare spoil it here -- but rest assured, it's one for the ages. There is nothing beautiful about this film; it is cold, ugly, and unfair -- and I love it.
The Vanishing (Spoorloos) Quotes
|Rex Hofman:||Sometimes I imagine she's alive. Somewhere far away. She's very happy. And then, I have to make a choice. Either I let her go on living and never know, or I let her die and find out what happened. So... I let her die.|