Thursday, August 26, 2010
The Vanishing (Spoorloos)
*** (out of 4 stars)
This Dutch/French film grips taut around the neck and doesn't let go. Even after the credits roll you're still left with the feeling of hopelessness.
It's the story of a young married couple on there way to a biking trip in rural France. Rex Hofman (Gene Bervoets) and Saskia Wagter (Johanna Ter Steege) run out of gas in a dark and lonely tunnel. The two argue, eventually leading to Rex going back for gas alone. As Saskia pleads with him to not leave her, she is ignored. When he arrives later, with a full gas can, she is gone. He drives to the end of the tunnel and there she waits. They kiss, make up and head to a gas station to insure they won't run out of gas again.
Once they arrive at the gas station the story really picks up.
Saskia goes into the station for a beer and Coke but never returns. Rex tries his hardest to find her and with little to no help from authorities he's left to investigate by himself. He soon starts to ask people if they saw his missing wife. The clerk tells him she was last seen with a man standing next to the coffee machines. Others say she got into a car with a man. Finally he stumbles upon a piece of evidence. A picture he had taken while standing outside the store. In the polaroid is what he thinks is his wife, walking with a man.
Three years pass and Rex is still trying to uncover the missing pieces to the puzzle of his missing wife.
In a series of intermittent flashbacks we see Raymond Lemorn (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu) practicing manuvers to kidnap women. He has a method of approach and fails in most of his attempts. He seems to be a loner, yet has a family and is a respected Chemistry teacher.
The truth is finally uncovered when Rex goes on the T.V., kind of challenging, the suspect in coming forward. When Raymond Lemorne meets up with Rex it leads to the unsettling truth of what actually happened to Saskia. Raymond tells Rex the only way to find out what happened to her is to go through what she had to go through, then, he'd know the truth. Rex's impulses get the better of him and he drinks a cup of coffee laced with a sleeping pill that Raymond concocted. Rex eventually wakes up to find himself buried alive.
This film has one of the best movie endings. It's utterly haunting.
Cast: Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Gene Bervoets and Johanna Ter Steege
Dir: George Sluizer