RARA-AVIS: Re: The Vanishing

From: ejmd__ ( ejmd__@ntlworld.com)
Date: 31 Dec 1989

BaxDeal@aol.com writ:

> the story concerns a man obsessed with finding his fiancee,
> who disappeared from a gas station while he went into the
> mens room to drain the lizard.

As I recall, when he returned with the coffees she had gone. This led to a search, followed by panic and bewilderment, and his appeal to the authorities was futile. I think this opening part of the film manages to portray the central character's bewilderment and powerlessness rather well.

> a couple years later, his obsession has left his life a shambles.

The fact that the story unfolds over a period of years adds to sense of the impact of the event of 'the vanishing' on his life.

> the sociopath contacts the hero and offers him the
> opportunity to discover EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED to his
> girlfriend.
> the ending of the Dutch version is one of the most
> disturbing scenes in cinema.

I wasn't really persuaded by the scenes where he goes along with the kidnapper ... I'm not sure what would have made this more convincing. The ending though is what the whole film has been leading up to, and I agree that it is very disturbing (so the immediate lead-up doesn't really matter).

> the ending of the American version was absolutely ludicrous
> and completely invalidates the entire point of making the
> picture in the first place. shame on all involved,
> especially George Sluizer.

This makes me think that should this version ever come up on TV, it's not worth bothering with ... though having said that, it would be kinda tempting to see how badly botched this version is! It may be that Sluizer doesn't deserves such opprobrium though ... he had already made the film once, with Spoorloos. I don't know the story of the re-make, but it may be Sluizer was put in a situation where he *had to* use the ending you describe as ludicrous. However well or however poorly the re-make turned out, the Dutch film is still there.


BTW, I don't know if someone fell asleep on their 'return' key, but I received a very strange digest this morning!

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