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The Vanishing

Who Has Seen This Woman?
The Vanishing
Rex and Saskia are enjoying a biking holiday in France when, stopping at a gas station, Saskia disappears. Confounded, Rex searches everywhere, but to no avail. Three years later, he's still obsessed with finding her, pleading his case on television, putting up posters and ruining his new relationship in the process. Eventually an unassuming chemistry teacher, Raymond, approaches Rex, intimating that he knows what happened.


John Chard
Traceless. Spoorloos (AKA: The Vanishing) is directed by George Sluizer and Sluizer co-adapts the screenplay with Tim Krabbe from Krabbe’s own novella The Golden Egg. It stars Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Gene Bervoets, Johanna ter Steege and Gwen Eckhaius. Music is by Hennie Vrienten and cinematography by Toni Kuhn. It’s a lesson in creeping unease, a film firmly interested in character development as it unfurls a tale of obsession whilst casting a clinical observation of a sociopath at work. Story is basic on plot terms, young lovers are separated during a vacation when the girl mysteriously disappears. So begins her boyfriend’s obsessive search that spans years, then things get intriguing as the person responsible for girls disappearance starts sending the boyfriend messages, giving him the run around, until the question is asked. Just how far are you prepared to go to find out what happened? The script is brutally clever, we follow two parallel lives, that of emotionally torn boyfriend Rex Hoffman (Bervoets), and that of sociopath Raymond Lemorne (Donnadieu), the latter of which is a family man moving freely amongst his loved ones whilst simultaneously practising his perfect crime. Lemorne is a very different type of sociopath to what normally fills out horror movies, he’s sometimes a figure of fun, even inept, but he beats a black heart and as Rex Hoffman is going to find out, he’s very methodical in his belief that he was destined to enact a perfect crime. Sluizer builds the picture very slowly, only turning the screw an inch at a time. He lets Spoorloos chill our blood not by jolt shocks or stalk and slash histrionics, but by the very fact that Raymond does what he does just because he can. While the disintegration of Rex’s emotional being is terrifying in its realism, what gnaws away at him also gnaws away the audience, so when the coup de grace comes at film’s end, the impact is like being run over by a tank. Great direction is matched by great acting from the principal players, to seal the deal for Spoorloos being a truly excellent thriller that’s well worth seeking out by those after a bit more thought in their thriller viewings. 8.5/10

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