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DVD Reviews: The Vanishing (Original)

The Final Say!

Feature Score:
DVD Extras Score

Reviewed by Alex Cuming
Review Date: 26 May 2003
Distributed by:
The AV Channel
Running Time: 106 Minutes

The two kinds of people I hate most in this world are people who are intolerant of other races and ….the Dutch.  Well I know that’s a cliche from Austin Powers Goldmember but it’s probably fitting for the villain who zealously delves into the unthinkable with innocent Dutch victims.  The subtitles are paced on the screen well and comprehension is viable.  This version is more typically European not saying I am an authority on these films but I have seen a few and the vast majority of the films from Europe are inextricably dry and make the audience ask questions throughout.  Questions asked throughout will be along the lines “What is this guy doing with a rather dicey looking bandage on his arm?” “Why is he reciting a certain manner so elaborately” questions that may either intrigue the viewer or switch them off. 

Rex and Saskia a Dutch couple very much in love and are on holiday out in the countryside of France.  They stop and Saskia, after endeavouring to get a cold drink, is intervened by a rather Sinister Frenchman by the name of Raymond Lemorne.  Saskia mysteriously disappears or Vanishes if you will, and her boyfriend Rex is left wavering.  Distraught and morosely upset about this occurrence, Rex struggles to maintain his life as normal, even still seeking his love after three years.  His nemesis Raymond admires the determination of her love Rex and reveals himself to him.  The outcome will astound you I will not say what happens but I will stress to expect the unexpected. 

The performances in this film are commendable and the looks of emotion on all involved will slowly swoon the viewer.  Just be patient is all I can say because most viewers will be amazed at the outcome.  It is very slow though and to pay attention when there is little going on takes concentration and dedication.  This film is more demanding on the viewer as a result of the sluggish pace.  The Vanishing is not a scary film by any means but it rellies on the intrigue beset upon the audience.  It also tries to capture the claustrophobic feeling, with special filters used during crucial moments. The graininess in some of the shots are implemented well and are used to reinforce the mood. 

The special features in this package are excellent and will thoroughly give a background and founded understanding of the film.  The interview with the director is excellent albeit short and sweet.  The extras are complete and most of the questions the viewers ask will be answered.  There is also a little on the remake which is both interesting and worth a look for fans of this film. 

The animated menu on the disc is a curious choice and is brilliant and will make you either cringe or laugh at its cleverness.  The choice to put the lighter on it symbolises the claustrophobic feeling and also the flailing glimpse of hope of the character and audience of the film. 

Overall the film was not one of the best seen.  The slow pace and throbbing intensity could turn the viewer off but the advice that I’ll give is that wait till the very end before judging the whole film. The whole duration of these slow scenes is the build up to something that is one of the most memorable events in cinema.

The Vanishing (original) Features

  • 2003 Interview with Director George Sluizer
  • French Theatrical Trailer
  • Photo Gallery from the Hollywood remake
  • Motion Menu
  • Scene Index
  • Umbrella Propaganda


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