“The Vanishing” (1988) – An attractive Dutch couple Rex (Gene Bervoets) and Saskia (Johanna ter Steege) are taking a holiday and traveling to France. With a pair of bikes on the roof and plenty of snacks in the back seat, this loving pair seem to have plenty of bright years ahead of them. Their trip and lives, however, become ripped apart, when Saskia suddenly vanishes into thin air during a random gas station stop.
This is the ghastly premise for director George Sluizer’s thriller “The Vanishing”, and he weaves his camera through Tim Krabbe’s screenplay that takes a unique approach (and will not be revealed in this review) in setting up the agonizing conflict.
Rex is desperate to find Saskia, and his search becomes an obsession. He clings to small clues, pleads for answers and implores for help on TV while describing an unknown faceless man who he believes is responsible for Saskia’s disappearance.
“I’m sure he’s very intelligent, he can go unnoticed and is a total perfectionist,” he says.
Although Rex badly suffers, Saskia’s fate could be a thousand times worse. He does not know her fate, and that kills him. Sluizer’s slow burn is a sinister and maddening look at a tangle of wills and resolve, and after a viewing, you’ll hug your partner, loved one, child, parent, etc. just a little bit tighter.
Image credits: ; Interview credits: criterioncollection