The Vanishing is a well made and one of the more disturbing dramas ever highlighted by a wholly creepy performance from Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu. This Criterion Blu-ray is one of the lighter releases in terms of features but the video and audio transfers are both well done and worth the price if you’re a fan of the film.
Genre(s): Drama, Crime
The Criterion Collection | NR – 106 min. – $39.95 | October 28, 2014
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
Based on the novella “The Golden Egg” by Tim Krabbé, The Vanishing was helmed, and co-adapted, by George Sluizer unfolds with a disjointed plot structure and throughout its relatively short, yet still exhausting, 106-minutes running time, has a foreboding and dark cloud hanging over it. This isn’t to mention some disturbingly dark humor.
The story revolves around young couple Rex (GENE BERVOETS) and Saskia (JOHANNA TER STEEGE) on vacation when, during a stop at a gas station/rest area, Saskia suddenly disappears without a trace, leaving Rex beside himself and helpless. Meanwhile, we are introduced to mild mannered family man Raymond (BERNARD-PIERRE DONNADIEU) who, as we know by this point, is the man responsible for Saskia’s abduction.
What’s different from other abduction movies is this one takes us inside his methodology even going through his planning stages of luring young women, honing the skills, meticulously researching such as the time someone remains passed out after being chloroformed and just an all around fascinating, if not disquieting, examination that is beyond anything seen on “Criminal Minds” and is even more shocking because of his precision.
On the other side, with Rex, we find his obsession never waning over the course of years still putting up posters and going to the media, this despite having a new, and supportive, woman in his life. But his not knowing what happened Saskia drives and sets him on a collision course with Raymond leading to one of the more memorable cinematic endings.
The Vanishing is a slow-burn thriller but the performances by Gene Bervoets and Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu are fantastic and once the pair finally meet up, it’s makes for a wonderful, and calmly tense, sequence that makes it all worthwhile.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5
As with other Criterion releases, this comes housed in a clear HD Keep Case. Inside is a small booklet. Features-wise, this is rather light:
Interview with George Sluizer (19:05; HD) – In this 2014 interview, Sluizer discusses the challenges of adapting from the source novel, the psychology of its characters, and his approach to building suspense.
Interview with Johanna Ter Steege (14:24; HD) finds the actress as she recalls the extensive back story she created for her character, working with the director, and how the experience shaped her approach to acting.
Trailer (1:32; SD)
VIDEO – 4.5/5
The Vanishing is found on Blu-ray presented in its original 1.66 widescreen aspect ratio and a new 1080p transfer (from a 4K master). The visuals on this film looks fantastic with crisp and clear detail levels, colors appear to be nice and bright. Although I did notice some unusual light marks and in one shot the film element looked a bit rough, this is a clean enough transfer with no signs of aliasing or pixilation.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The disc comes with a well done LPCM Monaural track which offers good dialogue levels and the iconic 1980s synthesizer music comes through nicely enough. It’s not the most dynamic or expansive track but it does get the job done.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, The Vanishing is a well made and one of the more disturbing dramas ever highlighted by a wholly creepy performance from Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu. This Criterion Blu-ray is one of the lighter releases in terms of features but the video and audio transfers are both well done and worth the price if you’re a fan of the film.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.