THE VANISHING (1993) 

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Kiefer Sutherland
Jeff Bridges
Nancy Travis
Sandra Bullock
Park Overall
Maggie Linderman
Lisa Eichhorn
George Hearn

George Sluizer



Time: 109 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Thriller

SYNOPSIS: When his girlfriend suddenly disappears, a young man spends the next three years of his life searching for her. What he finds is her abductor and answers he truly didn't want to know.

BOTTOM LINE: THE VANISHING is a horrific tale of two men and their internal struggles: one emotionally devestated by his girlfriend's sudden and inexplicable disappearance and the other a seemingly normal, intelligent human who can't stop himself from wondering if he's capable of committing cold-blooded murder. The latter's success sends Sutherland's character into a tailspin of depression that spurs his obsessive search to discover the truth.

Everyone else thinks that he's making his story up, that Diane merely left him and he couldn't handle it. There's something to be said for that version until you meet Bridges. In an equally silly and creepy role, he leaves no doubt about the fate of Ms. Bullock, who plays the overly trusting girlfriend who gets herself in a whole heap of trouble -- which she kind of deserves since she got into the car of a man she just met at a truck stop. Hellooooo? This is wholly unbelievable, but if it doesn't happen there's no story. Eventually, Sutherland figures out who took his girl. Bridges toys with Sutherland, knowing he's got him by the balls. If he wants to know what happened he has to play by the rules.

The first third of the film is somewhat slow, but the tension builds higher and higher with every minute we wait to discover Bullock's fate. The cinematography is great, using unusual angles and shots to keep the audience off-balance. The ending takes you to a place beyond your worst nightmare, but ultimately cops out in typical Hollywood style. Despite some story issues this is a well-crafted thriller that really sticks with you, mainly because its premise could happen to you.

"She's gone, Jeff. She's gone. You may never know how or why, you just have to learn to accept that. "

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