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The Vanishing (1988)
"Spoorloos" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  27 October 1988 (Netherlands)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 22,018 users  
Reviews: 173 user | 77 critic

Rex and Saskia, a young couple in love, are on vacation. They stop at a busy service station and Saskia is abducted. After three years and no sign of Saskia, Rex begins receiving letters from the abductor.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu ...
Gene Bervoets ...
...
Gwen Eckhaus ...
Bernadette Le Saché ...
Tania Latarjet ...
Lucille Glenn ...
Gabrielle
Roger Souza ...
Manager
Caroline Appéré ...
Cashier
Pierre Forget ...
Didier Rousset ...
Raphaëline Goupilleau ...
Gisele Marzin (as Raphaëline)
Robert Lucibello ...
Teacher
David Bayle ...
Lemorne (16 Years)
Doumee ...
Lady 'Prisunic' (as Doumée)
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Storyline

Rex and Saskia are on holiday, a young couple in love. They stop at a busy service station and Saskia disappears. Rex dedicates the next three years trying to find her. Then he receives some postcards from her abductor, who promises to reveal what has happened to Saskia. The abductor, Raymond Lemorne, is a chilling character to whom Rex is drawn by his intense desire to learn the truth behind his lovers disappearance. The truth is more sinister than he dared imagine. Written by Matthew Stanfield <mattst@cogs.susx.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

27 October 1988 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

L'homme qui voulait savoir  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu had some unorthodox methods to interact with his colleagues. He deliberately picked a fight with Gene Bervoets prior to their fight scene, so that Bervoet's rage would look genuine, and in the scene where he drugs Johanna ter Steege's character, he held her so tight that she could not breath and really experienced a panic attack. See more »

Goofs

Raymond tells Rex that when he was a teenager, he jumped from a balcony and lost two of his fingers. However, the adult Raymond clearly has 10 fingers for the duration of the movie. See more »

Quotes

Raymond Lemorne: My daughter was bursting with pride. But I thought that her admiration wasn't worth anything unless I could prove myself absolutely incapable of doing anything evil. And as black cannot exist without white, I logically conceived the most horrible deed that I could envision right at that moment. But I want you to know, for me killing is not the worst thing.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Vanishing (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
How far would you go to find the truth?
29 August 2004 | by (The IMDb Horror Board!) – See all my reviews

After reading several recommendations of Spoorloos (a.k.a. The Vanishing), I went ahead and bought the Criterion DVD release, which, by the way, has no extras. Let me say, I was not disappointed with the movie. If you like well-made, well-directed thrillers, it is definitely worth checking out. The story was simple enough; Rex's girlfriend mysteriously disappears at a gas station they stopped at while on vacation. Cut ahead three years and you still have him searching for her. Due to his persistence, the man responsible finally decides to get involved.

With very little violence and no gore, Spoorloos was able to leave the viewer in a truly depressing state. Some people might call it boring but I found the slow and steady pace to work in favor of the characters, as the acting was top notch. So was the direction of the scenes, which were set up quite nicely. It was interesting to see such attention paid to both the victim and criminal's point of view. You could really understand the desperation, confusion, and obsession that Rex felt with his loss. In turn, you see cold evil in a form that does exist in our world. While maybe not shocking to all viewers, the ending is terrifyingly tragic, made so by the realism and calmness throughout the film. Just ask yourself, how would you feel if that happened to you?

If pushed for a criticism, I would say that some of the symbolism seemed a bit too heavy handed but other then that, this is an intelligent, deep thriller. I have not seen the American remake (oddly enough, both versions are from director George Sluizer) but I can all but guarantee that the original is what you want to go with first. Many people suggest skipping the remake altogether!


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