31 Favorites #8: The Vanishing (aka Spoorloos)


Rex and Saskia, a young and very much in love couple, are on a holiday road trip in France when Saskia disappears at a gas station. What follows is a truly chilling film about how the obsessive nature of two men converge with disastrous results.

The Vanishing (also known as Sporloos) is a slow burner. Director George Sluizer takes his time building up to the final scene, which isn't so much unexpected as it is completely unavoidable. There's no other way that this film could have ended for our protagonists - it's as if it had been made simply to resolve to that final scene.

Please make sure that if you decide to see this film, you see the original Dutch/French version of the film - with the original title of "Spoorloos" - released in 1988.

Three Reasons Why I Love It:

  1. The movie plays out like a Greek tragedy, where our flawed hero's weaknesses get the better of him. It's beautifully done.
  2. The portrayal of Saskia's kidnapper is completely chilling. Part of what makes him frightening is his plausibility. He's methodical, rational, and completely believable.
  3. The ending really makes you think about how one's obsessions can lead them to the darkest places imaginable.