movie: "The Vanishing" US version vs French version

Okay, I have seen the US version, The Vanishing with Jeff Bridges and Keifer Sutherland, like a dozen times on tv…however

I have heard lots of buzz on the boards, in the past, that the original French version titled Spoorloos is much more intense and quite terrifying.

Is this correct, and if so, what differences can you tell me about the French version, without spoiling any plot differences?

Obviously I have never seen the French version, but I do need to check to see if I can rent a copy.


It’s Dutch.

The original is much more atmospheric, much more tense, and has an ending that blows the Hollywood cop-out version right out of the water. Can’t reveal it, since that’s kind of the whole point of the film.

What George Sluizer was thinking with that remake I’ll never know.

I saw the dutch version first. thought "well those damn french are some wierd fuckers (I thought they were french). this is the stupidest plot I have ever seen. "

and then years later I saw they were making an US version. and damn if it wasn’t a hit.
would you please tell me how many people in the entire globe would let the murderer of their wife do the same thing to them?

Nice spoiler warning there, justinh.

He didn’t know what had happened to his wife. That’s why he gave in. He was so obsessed with her disappearance that he just wanted to know. What’s so hard to understand about that?

Sorry about the spoiler warning.
spoiler warning (if its not too late)

maybe I didnt understand it. but he was more obsessed with her disappearance than with who did it?

I never see families of murder victims say “we don’t care if they hang the SOB but can he show us what he did to her. and if he won’t tell then can he drug me and do it to me so I will understand what she went thru”

The Dutch version of “The Vanishing” is the most disturbing movie I’ve ever seen. I’m not one to get disturbed by movies - on screen violence, on the whole, rarely hits me. That said, I will never see the Dutch version of “The Vanishing” again. Simply not interested.

The US version was stupid.

There’s the difference.


Though not the most disturbing movie I’ve seen (that would be the German “Funny Games”), it is up there. There are differences besides the ending. The villain is more convincing in the Dutch version because he’s played with subtlety. There is tension early in the movie due to our knowing that the wife will disappear, but not when, and we’re constantly surprised when she doesn’t turn up missing. The opening fight/uncomfortable silence/reconciliation/joy sequence that leads up to the disappearance is convincing, and sets up well the obsession the man develops when trying to locate his wife. The intervening sequences in which we see the villain plotting his scheme also are quite convincing. And the ending, well, it’s a doozy.

None of this is true of the American remake.

As for the ending of the original, it’s sneaky. The villain tells the man that he did the worst thing he could think of to his wife, and that death isn’t the worst thing he could conceive. We in the audience want to know what happened to the wife, (although the clues are all there, you see them quite clearly the second time through) and so we want him to undergo the same. Which is to say, we wish upon a character we’ve grown to like a fate worse than death to satisfy our own curiosity. The audience is made complicit in the crime, which is part of why it is so unsettling.

I guess I’m the only person who actually liked the US version. I’ll have to add it to my list of movies I like that everyone else hates. Of course, I haven’t seen the original, so I’ve got nothing to compare it to there.

By the way, it wasn’t his wife, it was his girlfriend (Sandra Bullock in an early role).

In the Dutch version, it’s his wife.

I’m not sure how much of a spoiler we’re allowed to give here so…

The difference between the US and Dutch/French versions spoiler

In the American version, Keifer Sutherland’s new girlfriend tracks him down, rescues him at the last minute (but after he learns what happened to Sandra Bullock), and kills Jeff Bridges.

In the European version, the husband’s new love interest does not track him down (I can’t remember if she even tried), he does not get rescued at the last minute, and the killer goes back to his wife, family and anonymous suburban life. These two films are the perfect example of what the scriptwriter in The Player was complaining about wrt Hollywood films: big-name stars and a tacked-on happy ending.

'course, the really creepy thing about the Euro version is that if you take a few inches from the killer’s waistline and add a few inches to his hairline, he’s me!

the really, really creepy thing is that both are made by the same director.

“Spoorloos” [it’s Dutch, btw. Not French-Dutch] follows the book by Tim Krabbè closely. The American version is a nice film, with a nice happy end, but has nothing to do with the original. imho, that is. :slight_smile:

Well, I had to do a bit of hunting, but I tracked down a copy of the Dutch version of “The Vanishing” and watched it last night.

I didn’t find the original Dutch version as “disturbing” or scary or as many have said it is. However, I can see how the ladies could get freaked out by it, or any such “abduction” type of movie.

I thought the Dutch version was better than US version. It had a lot more character background and development for the lead characters, their relationship, and it made a lot more sense than the US version. I also agree that the bad guy was more convincing. Jeff Bridges portrayal was too bizarre and over-the-top

My review:
Dutch version = 3 stars
USA version = one and three-fourths stars

I haven’t seen either of these two movies because I’m a wimp when several posters agree that it’s a creepy, disturbing movie. However, I noticed that the author of the book on which both films were based, was named Tim Krabbe. Would he be related to actor Jeroen Krabbe? I believe he’s a Dutch actor who has worked in several American films.

Yep; He’s his brother. :slight_smile: