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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars For The First Half, Three Stars For the Second
I'll start out by saying I have neither seen the Dutch film of which this is a remake or read the novel THE GOLDEN EGG that was the source material for both movies. From reading a little bit about the acclaimed Dutch film it sounds like the first half of the Hollywood version of THE VANISHING follows the original movie very closely but then the second half becomes more...
Published on February 16, 2008 by Susan K. Schoonover

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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars See the original
I had seen the original before the release of this film. I think it would make an excellent case study on just how badly Hollywood can mangle real cinema. Plot is almost exactly like original except that it has a ridiculous, hoaky, happy ending that was added to the end. The other annoying change is that the eerily 'normal' family-man psycho has been substituted with...
Published on April 3, 1999


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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars For The First Half, Three Stars For the Second, February 16, 2008
This review is from: The Vanishing (DVD)
I'll start out by saying I have neither seen the Dutch film of which this is a remake or read the novel THE GOLDEN EGG that was the source material for both movies. From reading a little bit about the acclaimed Dutch film it sounds like the first half of the Hollywood version of THE VANISHING follows the original movie very closely but then the second half becomes more of a "by the numbers" Hollywood thriller with some action sequences and the requisite happy ending for the survivors.

I'm not giving any spoilers aways by saying Jeff Bridges plays the kidnapper, Barney, as we see him practicing how to snatch a woman in the opening scenes. Bridges looks the part of a Barney who on the surface is a likable if somewhat eccentric chemistry professor. For some reason the American Bridges plays the part with some type of European (I think) accent which is quite jarring when the script states Barney was born and raised in Seattle and at one point even shows his birth certificate. Kiefer Sutherland is quite good as Jeff whose life becomes an obsession filled mess after the disappearance of his girlfriend more because of a burning desire to find out what happened to her then pure devastation at her loss. Nancy Travis plays Rita, Jeff's new girlfriend, whom he meets "cute" by coming in exhausted from his search for the missing Diane to the all night diner where she works. Rita later displays amazing talents as a detective and strategist so apparently was way underemployed in her waitress gig. Sandra Bullock as the very pretty and sympathetic missing Diane is very adequate but does not have a lot of screen time.

The first half of the film creates Diane and Jeff as believable characters caught in a nightmare. The second half relies too much on coincidences to move the plot ahead and pop psychology as motives for the characters' actions. If you like thrillers this is an OK way to spend a couple of hours but it seems the potential promised at the film's beginning is not even close to being realize by the end.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars See the original, April 3, 1999
By A Customer
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This review is from: The Vanishing [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I had seen the original before the release of this film. I think it would make an excellent case study on just how badly Hollywood can mangle real cinema. Plot is almost exactly like original except that it has a ridiculous, hoaky, happy ending that was added to the end. The other annoying change is that the eerily 'normal' family-man psycho has been substituted with an obvious greasey slime-ball 'bad guy.' If you can stand subtitles, get the original, because this is drivel in comparison.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must for Jeff Bridges Fans, September 7, 2009
By 
J.C. (Peoria, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Vanishing (DVD)
I'll make this short and sweet. If you enjoyed "The Big Lebowski" and want to see a different but equally potent side of Jeff Bridges' acting, buy this movie. It is very suspenseful the first time around, and it is great to watch this movie over again for the comedic elements. The only shortcoming in my opinion is that the ending is too abrupt.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Skip this one-see the original, February 1, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Vanishing [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is what happens to wonderful foreign films when Hollywood decides to remake them. Instead of an intelligent psychological thriller we get Nancy Travis saving her boyfriend from the creepy Jeff Bridges. Typical Hollywood editing leads to a typical ending. Skip this one and go for the original which is much better.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Be afraid..., February 22, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Vanishing [VHS] (VHS Tape)
An awful remake of the most brilliant, frightening thriller I have ever seen. If George Sluizer was attempting to pander to "American tastes," we should all feel insulted.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tepid Thriller, January 11, 2008
By 
David Baldwin (Philadelphia,PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Vanishing (DVD)
This is a maddening film because it starts out promisingly but quickly dissipates in the second half to typical Hollywood schlock thriller. For the first hour or so the film was reminiscent of Hitchcock's work. Superb performances were on display particularly by Nancy Travis. Oddly, the worst performance on hand is by Jeff Bridges who previously I never thought capable of bad work. He affects some implacable accent that makes you scratch your head and not think him menacing. Pacific Northwest maybe? Whatever, this flick typifies mediocrity and elicits ennui instead of genuine terror.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful, January 7, 2006
By 
This review is from: The Vanishing (DVD)
This movie starts a little slow, but builds quickly into a suspenseful thriller. Bridges does an excellent job playing a psycho and masterfully pulls off that little "thing" that just makes him creepy. Typical of an early 90s thriller, this movie is sure to entertain. If you liked "Fear" then you will like "The Vanishing" as well.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 1988 vs. 1993, September 12, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Vanishing [VHS] (VHS Tape)
It is interesting to read the other customer reviews and see how some can actually see this version (1993) as the better of the two or really any good at all. I was not aware of the 1988 version and cought this version (1993) on television and thought it was mildly interesting. Then I watched the 1988 Dutch/French version and was really sorry that I had even seen the 1993 version first. It totally ruins the interesting way the story weaves -- and the way the 1993 version ends is just so perfectly Hollywood, it makes me want to lose it. Whereas, the 1988 version ends perfectly cold. I would like to know why in the world Sluzier would re-make his own great movie and make it into a bad Hollywood film?!?!?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Jeff Bridges = Tommy Wiseau, April 9, 2013
By 
Jinx McElroy (Columbia, SC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Vanishing (DVD)
Last night my girlfriend and I watched both the original Dutch as well as the American remake of "THE VANISHING". I'm not sure if there's a more clean-cut example of Hollywood completely ruining something unique and engaging. The only interesting thing about the Hollywood remake was trying to figure out what the hell Jeff Bridges' weird accent was supposed to be. At times he sounded sort of French, sort of German, sort of Indian (both "feather" and "dot" at various points), sort of mentally handicapped... but nothing we could ever pin down. Finally we agreed that he just sounded like Tommy Wiseau.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Vanishing Mk 2: How to destroy your career in one simple movie, November 5, 2005
This review is from: The Vanishing (DVD)
NB - Once again Amazon have thoughtlessly contrived to combine the reviews for two different fims on the same page. This review refers to the US remake.

George Sluizer's original Dutch-French version of The Vanishing (aka The Man Who Wanted to Know) offers one of European cinema's most quietly disturbingly anonymous and everyday sociopaths, feeling his way one step at a time towards murder. If you've seen that version, you probably still can't get the final revelation out of your head, but the film had plenty more to offer than that, playing with chronology, subverting the usual cliches of its 'Lady Vanishes' plot (the hero wants to know what happened to his missing lover far more than he wants her to be alive) and throwing in some excellent characterization. I can only assume that for this 1993 US remake Sluizer was so determined that no-one else was going to get the chance to ruin his film when he was perfectly capable of doing it himself, but few people could have anticipated how comprehensively he trashes his own work. His career never recovered.

Chief culprit is an astonishing performance by Jeff Bridges that has been overthought through in every detail to a truly disastrous level. A friend who produced one of his earliest movies noted that Bridges was a great instinctive actor as long as you stopped him thinking about what he was doing, and this film is the proof of the pudding. Every movement is overly mechanical in its precision, making him look like a rusty clockwork toy, while his voice is a bizarre mixture of Tootsie, Latka Gravas from Taxi and a Dalek who have all been taking elocution lessons from Dok-tah E-ville. No banality of evil here, just a looney walking around with an invisible sign over his head saying "Please. Let. Me. Kill. You. Thank you. For your. Consideration.'

But the blame really needs to be shared out here. None of the performances are good: often, they don't even look good - Keifer Sutherland looks more like a baby hamster than a distraught man at his wits end in the hurried scenes at the gas station, Nancy Travis flounders badly and Sandra Bullock makes no impression at all as the object of his obsession. Not that they're given any help by either director or writer Todd Graff. The script is particularly weak. The chronology has been altered to put the focus firmly on Bridges at the expense of the couple at the opening of the film. Worse is the rush the film is in, draining the life and character from each scene in its race to get to the next. Rather than the high/low mood shifts in the couple's relationship or the apparently casual but careful establishing of the feel of the location, we just get a couple of arguments that give you the impression that he's probably better off without her. As for the new and improved happy ending - standard woman chased by nutter in the woods jeopardy stuff complete with lame `let's end on a joke like a TV cop show' moment - best not go there... which is advice that holds for this entire trainwreck of a movie. Even a shockingly bland and uninspired Jerry Goldsmith score can't do anything for this one.
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The Vanishing
The Vanishing by George Sluizer (DVD - 2004)
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