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Quebec Bill Bohomme is a hardy schemer and dreamer, who, desperate to raise money to preserve his endangered herd through the rapidly approaching winter, resorts to whiskey-smuggling, a traditional family occupation. Quebec Bill takes his son, Wild Bill, on the journey. Also Henry Coville, an inscrutable whiskey smuggler, and Rat Kinneson, Quebec Bill's perpetually disconsolate ex-con hired man. Together, they cross the border into vast reaches of Canadian wilderness for an unforgettable four days "full of terror, full of wonder." Written by
William Sanderson also played a smuggler (a Southern moonshiner) in Coal Miner's Daughter. See more »
Between 9 and ten minutes into the film (as Coville is asking the other 2 men if they want to purchase a 'fast car'), if you look in the background, you can see modern day vehicles going down the street - despite the film being set in the early 1930s. See more »
What a delight! In a market where we excuse bad scripts and flat characters for a dozen more explosions, dazzling special effects, and everything else twenty million dollars can buy, I love Disappearances for its charm, its clever script handled by a well-appointed cast, and its beautiful photography.
The movie is thoroughly rural. Like the countryside where it was produced, it unfolds itself slowly but magnificently. Do not expect to find your heart in your throat for two hours, followed by a climactic and tidy resolution to the cosmos. Disappearances tells a story of father and son, and it is rightly more of a process than a particular event. In that regard, the plot development is stylistically more similar to eastern European cinema than it is to its American peers.
With only a couple hitches (some characters are more prop than talent), Disappearances' strong symbiosis of script and talent is the film's greatest offering. The superb synergy of Farmer and McDermott with the others, the perfect casting of Sanderson to character, and a good performance by Kristofferson, have me pinching myself at times to remember these people aren't actually family. Disappearances ventures further, or more believably, into the psychology of its main characters than many American films dare go.
That Jay Craven was ambitious with his budget shows at times during Disappearances, but it becomes more of a mark of honor than a detractor. This film is the antithesis to the contemporary action blockbuster. The film moves slowly at times, and the action is not always plausible, but the characters are for the most part enchanting. Besides, our suspension of disbelief in the cinema is an aesthetic choice above all, and I appreciate the way Disappearances, in its fusion of magic realism and frontier, challenges me to look at movies anew.
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