T500FC, 402nd: Spoorloos [The Vanishing] (George Sluizer, 1988)


If you happen to be familiar with Harry Potter, you are probably aware of the following saying, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Albus said those words to Harry, informing him on the basic principle of choice. This movie greatly takes on the idea of choice to the point where the climax of the film gives the protagonist a great decision in his life. Spoorloos might not be an earth-shattering kind of film but its approach on the suspense genre greatly defined its change much more that it intelligently tells the audience that you should be curious while watching the film.

It starts off with a couple having a road trip and is on a vacation. Things went awful when the man finds out that the woman he is with is missing.  He looked and looked for her, gathering some evidences in the process, and eventually he fails. The story then changes to the life of the kidnapper and it shows his history that he is not a bad man after all. Years pass by, the man challenges the kidnapper on live television to show himself up and at least give him the closure. The kidnapper gives him what he wants but offers him a decision at the end.

Funny how this film was created, it didn’t leave the viewers the time to think and a definition of what a bad person is. Take the story of the kidnapper for instance, he had a good life and all but he ended up planning to kidnap someone for the sake of it. He wasn’t beaten up when he was young. He had a good family along with a loving wife and kids. He had the perfect simple life.

Then, we have the man who can’t move on with his life. I think we have the same wavelength in thinking that at least everything should have a closure. It doesn’t matter if the odds are against him or if everything might turn out bad. You just need to know the answer at the end. And I believe that it was the right choice for the man to find the truth.

And with those two ideas, it was smartly intertwined by the director and the scriptwriter on how they’ll be able to pull through with this. I know that the set-up was quite slow but you would not be bothered by it. It was just right actually. Maybe, people might be bored with this type of film but you have to understand the background of such. It was made in the Netherlands and it was how it worked there. All in all, it was effective.

I know people would probably say that what the movie brought is morally wrong. Yes, they have their point in that and I am not arguing with it. But if you’re as smart as the kidnapper, wouldn’t you give the same test for the guy too?


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