Directed By: George Sluzier
Screenplay By: Todd Graff
Based on the novel The Golden Egg by Tim Krabbé
Produced By: Larry Brezner, Paul Schiff
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland, Nancy Travis, Sandra Bullock, Lisa Eichorn
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 121 minutes
Review Date: October 1, 2010
Remakes are always a crapshoot. You’re bound to upset some people while gaining some new fans (hopefully). But remakes within five years and with the same director and writers? And for a film that has been critically acclaimed and continues to garner attention today? It leaves you wondering why this remake even happened.
The Vanishing (1993) is a remake of The Vanishing (1988) (titled Spoorloos abroad] and recounts an abduction and a boyfriend’s relentless search for clues and answers. The 1993 version adds on a different ending to the 1988 version. Again, if critics like what you did the first go round, maybe changing the ending isn’t the best move…
Barney Cousins (Jeff Bridges), a middle-class chemist with a wife and daughter, has a quirky family life. His interactions with his daughter Denise make you squeamish, as he seems to be socially awkward even in a one-on-one setting. Denise also champions for her dad to take a mistress, which is something not a normal American teenager consumes their time with. Cousins has these bizarre mannerisms and tics making the viewer extremely uncomfortable.
After Cousins rescues a boy, he becomes a hero, but wants to make sure he still has it in him to do evil, so he abducts Diane (Sandra Bullock) at a gas station. Diane’s boyfriend, Jeff (Kiefer Sutherland), spends the next three years of his life trying to find Diane or at the very least, answers. He strikes up a new relationship with Rita (Nancy Travis) right at the time Cousins comes to his home, telling him he’s the one who took Diane.
Eventually Cousins lures Jeff to come with him in order to get the answers about Diane. This part infuriated me. What person would ride shotgun in a car with an abductor? Whatever happened to phoning the police, or taking things into your own hands and beating the guy to a pulp (in all fairness, Jeff did do this, but then after attacking him, hopped in Cousins’ car)?
The sequence of events feels very forced and the fade-outs between scenes attempt to add more drama to the film than what’s needed. Bridges’ portrayal of Cousins is insanely creepy but the accent is laughable, taking away a lot of the thriller elements as you sit there trying to figure out what country he hails from.
It’s best to just let this one vanish into the air and opt for the original.
Hanna Soltys is a green tea drinker and film critic living in Chicago.