Monday, August 29, 2011

The Vanishing (1988)

Little Nawrot trivia...we still own a Laser Disc player.  Back in the days of yore, when Laser Discs were the rage, we collected the movies and have probably a hundred of them.  At the time, Laser Discs were much better resolution than VHS, so we were one of the suckers that bought into the technology.  And now, with so many movies in this format, we will own them until we can no longer replace broken equipment through Ebay.  (We even had our Laser Disc player hooked up to our new media set-up, much to the chuckling of the techno-geeks who did the work.)

For my birthday last year, my sister bought all the quality Laser Disc titles from a friend liquidating his inventory, and sent them to me.  My sister is a movie critic, so I trust her judgement.

One of these titles was "The Vanishing", a Dutch movie made in 1988 (subtitles).  The stars may be big in the Netherlands, but they were all relatively unknown here in the US.  The movie has been heralded a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock, which sounded good to us.

So here is the premise.  Rex and Saskia, a young couple in love, are headed to France for a romantic holiday.  When they stop at a service station for gas and snacks, Saskia disappears, never to be heard from again.  Rex spends years obsessing over the loss of his love, foregoing all others, waging a one-man campaign to find her, even though he knows deep down inside she is dead. 

One day, Saskia's abductor contacts Rex and begins to toy with him.  When they finally meet in person, the abductor makes an offer that he knows Rex cannot refuse - to learn what happened to his girlfriend.  But Rex must play by the rules.

While this movie is not at the level of a Hitchcock, my husband and I could definitely see the similarities.  There was considerable character development in both Rex and the abductor (who was a real sinister sicko bastard).  The movie builds slowly, patiently showing us who these two men are, their personalities, their frailties.  When the two cross paths, the hair on the back of my neck stood up.  I knew nothing good was going to come from it.  With each of them well-marinated in their obsessions, compounded by some sociopathic manipulations, we began to shake our heads...this was seriously messed up. 

While this is definitely not a five star suspense thriller, it will provide a couple of hours of edge-of-your-seat entertainment.  Recommended.   

     

12 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Sounds WAY too spooky for me! By the way, Jim used to have a laser disk player too, but we ended up disposing of it! I like your method of dealing with it much better!

Mandy said...

I've been meaning to see this movie for a while after seeing the 1993 American remake. Have you seen it? It stars Kiefer Sutherland as the obsessed boyfriend and a very creepy Jeff Bridges as the abductor. A young Sandra Bullock was the "vanished" girlfriend. I really enjoyed it but have wanted to see the original ever since!

Zibilee said...

I have never heard of this movie, but it does sound entertaining and kind of suspenseful. I just watched Limitless on Saturday night, and was wondering if you've seen it. I liked it a lot, but felt the ending was a little sloppy.

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

Yikes, yeah, I am NOT a thriller gal but it looks fairly well done if that's what you're into. :O)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

You have a laser disc player? That's hilarious. I've actually seen the American version that Mandy mentioned. Jeff Bridges is really weird in it. It's like he read a book on how to act like a cliched creepy bad guy and then did everything they suggested.

bermudaonion said...

Oh, your age is showing with that laser disc player! LOL This movie sounds a little creepy for my liking.

Alyce said...

We didn't have laserdiscs, but my parents had the old RCA videodiscs that you slide in and out of the player. Whenever I mention them hardly anyone knows what I'm talking about. :) We watched a lot of fun old movies on that player before getting a VCR. (I still remember our excitement when we got our first VCR too.)

Jenners said...

I've only met one other person who had a laser disc player! You're the second. And this movie does sound good. Scary good. And in reading Mandy's comment, I think I saw the remake!!! The plot sounded a bit familar and now I know why. I don't remember it very much though.

Amy said...

I've only seen the American version of this movie but I thought it was well-done. I forgot the original was the Dutch movie. I'm going to check Netflix for it since I love a good spooky movie!

Kathleen said...

This sounds so good! I see others have mentioned the American movie version with Jeff Bridges. It was really good too!

heidenkind said...

I haven't seen a laserdisk player since like middle school I think!

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I actually just saw this film a few months ago, and was superbly freaked out. Mandy's already mentioned the American remake called "Vanished," with Sandra Bullock (before she drove the bus in Speed), Kiefer Sutherland, and Jeff Bridges. I saw it back in the early '90s and thought it was freaky until I see the Dutch original this year. This is much, much freakier!