7.8/10
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195 user 91 critic

The Vanishing (1988)

Spoorloos (original title)
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.

Director:

George Sluizer

Writers:

Tim Krabbé (novel), Tim Krabbé (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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On Disc

at Amazon

7 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu ... Raymond Lemorne
Gene Bervoets ... Rex Hofman
Johanna ter Steege ... Saskia Wagter
Gwen Eckhaus Gwen Eckhaus ... Lieneke
Bernadette Le Saché Bernadette Le Saché ... Simone Lemorne
Tania Latarjet Tania Latarjet ... Denise
Lucille Glenn Lucille Glenn ... Gabrielle
Roger Souza Roger Souza ... Manager
Caroline Appéré Caroline Appéré ... Cashier
Pierre Forget Pierre Forget ... Farmer Laurent
Didier Rousset Didier Rousset ... TV Journalist
Raphaëline Goupilleau Raphaëline Goupilleau ... Gisele Marzin (as Raphaëline)
Robert Lucibello Robert Lucibello ... Teacher
David Bayle David Bayle ... Lemorne (16 Years)
Doumee 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:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Language:

Dutch | French | English

Release Date:

27 October 1988 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

The Vanishing See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

In the flashback near the end of the film when Raymond is talking to the old man near the coffee machine, the old man says he broke a bone in 1940 when he was eleven years old. Raymond states he then must be 59 years old in November, This makes that year 1988. But, at the beginning of the film when Rex is looking for Saskia you can hear the radio announcer talking about the Tour de France race that is happening and he says it is 1984. See more »

Quotes

Saskia Wagter: My nightmare. I had it again last night.
Rex Hofman: That you're inside a golden egg and you can't get out, and you float all alone through space forever.
Saskia Wagter: Yes, the loneliness is unbearable.
[pause]
Saskia Wagter: No. This time there was another golden egg flying through space. And if we were to collide, it'd all be over.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Serial Mom (1994) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
How far would you go to find the truth?
29 August 2004 | by Golgo-13See 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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