The Vanishing - finally done right !

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Deepak Shenoy, Sep 22, 2001.

  1. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

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    Last night I got a chance to watch the new Criterion release of The Vanishing(Spoorloos) - a Dutch/French psychological thriller that was later remade (rather poorly) as a Hollywood movie starring Jeff Bridges.
    This is one of the few movies that I watched quite often even though it was previously available only as an inferior Fox Lorber DVD. The Fox Lorber DVD had a lot of problems and thankfully Criterion has fixed all of them.
    First of all the Criterion release has the correct aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and it is anamorphic (slightly window-boxed). The Fox Lorber DVD was pan-and-scanned (yuck !). The Fox Lorber DVD also had generally washed out colors with very poor contrast. The Criterion DVD is a revelation (having never seen the movie in any other format). The colors seem more accurate and the contrast is greatly improved. The picture is also crisp and detailed. I did notice some slight shimmering in the opening scenes, but it wasn't very distracting.
    The sound quality is also improved (at least it seems so - I don't have the Fox Lorber DVD for a comparison). The subtitles are removable (unlike the burned-in subtitles on the Fox Lorber version) and seem more complete and accurate (I was able to pick up on more subtleties in the conversations than in the previous version).
    Finally, there is a very interesting trailer included as well. I had almost given up hope on seeing an improved version of The Vanishing on DVD and I am happy that Criterion has given us a greatly improved version that exceeds my expectations.
    Highly recommended (especially if you liked other European thrillers such as Insomnia).
    [Edited last by Deepak Shenoy on September 22, 2001 at 11:33 AM]
     
  2. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    I saw this many moonsago and fell asleep. I was very disappointed after hearing how tense it was supposed to be. I was as tense as blob of jelly. [​IMG] Oh well. To each their own.
    The VHS I rented (this was before DVD) was real nasty looking.
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  3. DanL

    DanL Stunt Coordinator

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    Just for trivia, it shoul dbe noted that the same director actually made the Hollywood-ized version.
     
  4. Wes Ray

    Wes Ray Supporting Actor

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    I was considering picking this one up, but after Matt's comments, I might hold off.
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  5. Anthony Thorne

    Anthony Thorne Supporting Actor

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    Well, maybe my comments might sway you. THE VANISHING is a great, disturbing, well-acted thriller with a memorable plot, a number of unforgettable scenes and a genuinely creepy and disturbing ending. It's also a movie that gets steadily more unsettling with each viewing, as you pick up on the clues and hints within the plot that are difficult to catch the first time you watch it. It's one of the best European thrillers in a long time, and the fact that a Hollywood studio felt it worthwile to spend millions remaking it might give you some indication that the original is worth a look.
    THE VANISHING is not a rollercoater ride horror movie - it's actually a fairly quiet and restrained piece of work. There are no big splatterly gore scenes, and much of the movie involves quiet conversation in broad daylight. The film's impact is very real, though, and if you come to it without too much advance knowledge of the plot I guarantee you'll be unsettled for a long while after watching it. I love horror movies of all sorts, but THE VANISHING is one of the rare few that will truly get under your skin. At the VERY least, give the new Criterion disc a rental. I really don't think you'll regret it...
     
  6. Mark_Wilson

    Mark_Wilson Screenwriter

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    I picked this up the other day, not having ever heard of it. The description on the cover sounded good.
    I finished watching it tonight, very good! I'm not usually one for foreign films, but this was a very well done movie. Highly recommended.
    now I'm off to find Insomnia...
     
  7. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    I can't wait to get this. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait a bit as I've got it shipping with The Lady Eve. Ah well, October is gonna be a primo month for dvds...
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    He thought on homeland, the big timber, the air thin and chill all the year long. Tulip poplars so big through the trunk they put you in mind of locomotives set on end. He thought of getting home and building him a cabin on Cold Mountain so high that not a soul but the nighthawks passing across the clouds in autumn could hear his sad cry. Of living a life so quiet he would not need ears. And if Ada would go with him, there might be the hope, so far off in the distance he did not even really see it, that in time his despair might be honed off to a point so fine and thin that it would be nearly the same as vanishing.
    -- Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain
     
  8. Kevin Leonard

    Kevin Leonard Supporting Actor

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    I received this today and eagerly watched it, since there was a lot of acclaim given to this film. I have to say I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
    Perhaps the reason why some people don't like it is because they're accustomed to standard thriller cliches (tense music, blood everywhere, quick cutting, etc.) and find none of this in The Vanishing. Now, I'll admit that the movie certainly could've used some tighter editing--especially during the scenes with the main character's girlfriend--but I do admire Sluzier's decision to let one know about the characters and give them glimpses of their personal lives.
    About the ending: thanks to my viewing of the US remake trailer (proving once again how studios believe we need everything spelled out), I already sort of knew what was going to happen to the main character. But I still felt quite tense during the final half hour. Plus, the ending had more weight to it because the setup was rather logical, and because of the utter caculation of the kidnapping. Plus, the kidnapper's consistent calmness seriously unnerved me.
    Criterion did a great job with this disc. The transfer is extremely clean, and, as Deepak pointed out, everything was very crisp and detailed. Sadly, the only supplements one receives is a trailer and the standard Criterion essay (avoid reading this if you haven't seen the film). But the transfer is so good, I can overlook a lack of commentary or documentary. Highly reccomended.
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    [Edited last by Kevin Leonard on September 23, 2001 at 01:32 AM]
     
  9. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

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    Mark,
    If you liked The Vanishing, you will definitely like Insomnia - another great thriller from Europe (Norway to be precise). Insomnia is being remade in Hollywood with Al Pacino in the lead. I usually don't look forward to Hollywood remakes (thanks to some horrible remakes such as Diabolique and The Vanishing), but I will make an exception with this one since it is directed by none other than Christopher Nolan (who directed Memento).
     
  10. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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  11. Nick

    Nick Second Unit

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    Great movie. I loved it. I own the first version. The sound was lousy. The picture was OK.
    Very disturbing ending though unlike the American remake.
     
  12. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    I finally watched this (heh, I get to resurrect a 3-yr old thread as a bonus [​IMG] )
    Whilst I enjoyed it, at the end I was thinking to myself why was Rex so stupid? He was obviously going to get killed if he followed through, but of course who would've thought it was in so macabre a manner? I suppose it (plot-wise)was just to prove that he really meant what he said on TV, that he'd do anything to find out what happened to Saskia. And did that business of emerging from the tunnel into golden sunlight have any reference to the "dream" they'd both had about golden eggs?
     
  13. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

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    And the remake is coming out September 7!
     
  14. Julian Lalor

    Julian Lalor Supporting Actor

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  15. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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  16. Darren Haycock

    Darren Haycock Second Unit

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    I remember this movie from a film class I took. It was pretty cool. I remember it being foreign, but I don't remember for the life of me whether the movie was in English or if it was subtitled. I know it wasn't dubbed, I would've remembered a travesty such as that.
     

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