Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Vanishing Review

She looks beautiful in the sunlight. It's the type of moment that you take for granted because you assume the world owes you thousands more just like it. You never believe it could be the last until it is, and even then you probably won't believe it. You refuse to believe it. You look at her there, basking in the glow of a world so seemingly perfect and on face value it's just another day. She looks beautiful in the sunlight, and it will shine tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. 

Only the sun suddenly stops shining. The world seems so dark. You look for her there, anywhere, everywhere but you see nothing. It was just another day and now it is the worst one of your life. You never believe it could happen to you until it does. Even now, you probably don't believe it. You refuse to believe it.

She vanished. She's gone.

For three years you search. You search for the love of your life, that beautiful girl that brought out the sun, but also you search for answers. The answers are almost more important. Even the most optimistic person alive would have trouble believing in her safe return after so long, but you have no idea why. You need to know why. It's more than a desire or a search for closure. It's an obsession.

The Vanishing is about just that. An obsession. It's not a typical whodunit murder mystery, director George Sluizer makes that very clear to the audience surprisingly early. We meet the man responsible for the disappearance of Saskia Wagter (Johanna ter Steege) and part of what makes this film so damn brilliant is the way the plot unfolds. Any concerns I had for predictability or familiarity with the narrative went soaring out the window right away and I was hooked from start to finish, wondering what demented direction it would head in next. I never did figure it out until it was too late. I never saw it coming. Thank goodness for that.

In the end I was left disturbed. I had chills. I had goosebumps. Days later I still have chills. I still have goosebumps. I waited to see if The Vanishing would indeed resonate with me more than just the initial shock value and it has proven to be both more haunting and more ingenious with each passing minute.

She looked so beautiful in the sunlight, but she vanished. She's gone.

How far would you be willing to go to find out why?


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