7.8/10
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191 user 90 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 »
Reviews
Popularity
1,432 ( 5,406)

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The central plot of the film (and the novel on which it is based) is from an archetype Urban Legend related to the Paris Exposition of 1901. A woman and her daughter travel to Paris for the exhibition, and whilst the woman unpacks, the daughter goes to a nearby shop. When she returns to the hotel, the mother is gone, and no one in the hotel remembers having seen her. The idea also formed for the basis for Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes (1938), Terence Fisher's So Long at the Fair (1950), Robert Fuest's And Soon the Darkness (1970) and Philip Leacock's Dying Room Only (1973). See more »

Goofs

After the discussion with Lieneke and her departure, Rex sits in front of the computer and a mic is visible in the lower left corner. See more »

Quotes

Raymond Lemorne: You start with an idea in your head, and you take a step... then a second... Soon, you realize you're up to your neck in something intense, but that doesn't matter. You keep at it for the sheer pleasure of it. For the pure satisfaction it might bring you.
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Connections

Referenced in The 100 Greatest Scary Moments (2003) 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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