Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Vanishing

Last night I capped off an evening packed with 150 pages of patent law reading with a viewing of The Vanishing. (This was the Dutch version, not the American remake.)

I like suspense/horror movies, and I especially like watching the foreign originals of later American hits. They are almost uniformly superior, and often have a more quiet sense of doom hanging over them.

The Vanishing tells its story in non-linear fashion. It centers around the disappearance of a young Dutch woman at a truck stop in France. Saskia and her boyfriend, Rex, are on holiday; she goes into the store to buy drinks . . . and never returns. Rex cannot get over her disappearance, especially the uncertainty of her fate. This is exacerbated by five postcards, purportedly from her murderer, requesting a meeting. The murderer never shows. Finally, after Rex has lost his new girlfriend due to his inability to cope, the murderer shows up on his doorstep and asks him if he wants to find out what happened to Saskia. Thus begins a strange interlude in which Rex and the killer have a relatively companionable road trip which culminates in a decision for Rex: how much does he want to know what happened to Saskia? How far will he go?

The score, especially the murderer's theme, was eerily bouncy. I spent a significant amount of time yelling at Rex, who evidently lost his mind along with his girlfriend. Stupid horror movie mistakes abound. Lessons:

Do not talk to strangers at truck stops.
Do not get in their car.
If your girlfriend disappears, don't listen to some idiot French truck stop manager - call the police right away!
If the man who almost certainly murdered your girlfriend shows up at your door, don't get in his car.
If the man wants to drug you, say no.
If the murderer confesses to you and gives you some of your girlfriend's missing belongings but then says calling the police won't do any good, don't believe him.
Never trust Frenchmen with Amish beards.
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