|Raymond Lemorne as played by Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu|
The Vanishing (1988)
d. George Sluizer
There is nothing as sweet as a one hit wonder. To think that an Artist could labor lifetime in their chosen field or fields and have their memory reduced to a single work in the collective consciousness of posterity. And yet, most Artists never even have that one "hit," so cruel is the marketplace for art products and so short is the memory of critics and scholars. The Vanishing is the one hit for director George Sluzier. He had an entire career, with films made in Europe and America, but this is his legacy.
The Vanishing is maybe not the scariest movie in the world, but it is among the creepiest. The description typically is "Obsessed man searches for wife who disappears from French rest stop." But the film itself depicts the viewpoint of the distraught husbands AND the kidnapper. Thus, it is quite clear almost from the jump who the kidnapper is. Instead, the focus of the film turns towards the inevitable meet up between kidnapper and husband.
The kidnapper is memorably played as a straight bourgeois sociopath by Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu- his sly mannerisms and quiet self confidence inspired a chill in me as I recalled clients who had shared similar characteristics. It's hard to understand how I could have missed this film before now. So glad I got to see it, and you should to. DO NOT watch the American remake because it fucking sucks- they change the ending from sad to happy which is just monstrous.