The Vanishing (1993)

No home internet can drive a (wo)man insane, but it can also force one to watch those DVDs bought years ago that are yet to see the laser light. The Vanishing, which ended up in my collection because of Sandra Bullock, is one of those. 

The story follows Jeff Harriman (Kiefer Sutherland), a man whose girlfriend, Diane (Sandra Bullock), was abducted at a gas station and has continued to search for her, with no success, for years. Not even after meeting Rita (Nancy Travis) and beginning a serious relationship with her does he give up. Then one day, Barney Cousins (Jeff Bridges) contacts him, the man who kidnapped Diane.

The storyline is definitely intriguing but unfortunately, the execution is beyond dreadful. The plot is predictable —there isn’t a single twist in here and they try to pass this as a thriller? I’m speechless—, it has so many holes and inconsistencies it makes no sense whatsoever, and the Hollywood happy ending is the ultimate weapon to destroy the film.

The characters aren’t much better as they are pretty dumb characters whose actions are illogical to say the least. They are dull and lifeless as they lack characterization and development. Jeff’s motivations are questionable, and you can’t help but despise him as not only he’s still obsessed over Diane when his in a new relationship, but he completely ignores his new girlfriend, Rita, the only character in the movie that deserves our sympathy. As for Barney, he is one of the worst villains ever. While he has a little backstory, we are never told what exactly turned him into a psychopath who enjoys kidnapping and killing women.

The performances are in line with the rest. Kiefer Sutherland, who would have made a very convincing villain, finds himself in the role of the obsessive-compulsive boyfriend looking for his girlfriend and, while he isn’t dreadful —he’s slightly entertaining, to be honest—, he could have so much more. Jeff Bridges is used to playing good guys and it shows —his Barney is creepy but he is not menacing at all. Nancy Travis, on the other hand, gives a convincing performance as Rita, the neglected new girlfriend.

20th Century Fox
At last but not least, the direction is completely flat. The Vanishing doesn’t have any tension or suspense, and, between the abduction scene, which is cheesy and filled with continuity errors, and the never-ending sequence in which Barney refuses to reveal where he’s hidden another character’s body, it makes you wish you were dead.  


  1. Yeah, this was one of those films that never should've been remade as the original version of the film is a classic from start to finish. I had the unfortunate of watching the remake first and that was terrible as I was hesitant in seeing the original film. Once I did see it and then saw some of the remake again. The remake of the film totally missed the point. Fucking Hollywood.

    1. I wasn't sure if giving the original a chance. Now I'm sure I will.

  2. Sutherland would have been better as the nut and Bridges should have been her dad or uncle since Bridges is never really convincing as an evil creep. I forgot about this movie and I never have seen it and probably will not but you never know