Connor SwindellsGerard Butler...
DramaMystery & Suspense
In 5 Cinemas
Whether it is watching the last bus drive away as you hopelessly run after it, not getting into your dream college because you just marginally missed the quoted GPA, or lifting a burger to your mouth and then having the filling fall out, an “almost there” really kills. The Vanishing had great burger filling, if only it didn’t all fall out.
The Vanishing follows three lighthouse keepers: veteran keeper Thomas (Peter Mullen) who is haunted by the tragic loss of his family, loving husband and father James (Gerard Butler), and rookie Donald (Connor Swindells), as they arrive at the lighthouse on a remote island in Scotland. Except for a storm and a broken radio, matters go as planned until they find the body of a man, his lifeboat, and a wooden chest. They go back and forth deciding what to do, but when they find out the chest is filled with gold, they think they are blessed. What they don’t know is that the gold will come at a very costly price.
The film gets a major edge from the fact that the plot is based on a true story, and a well-known mystery in Scotland, about the unexplained disappearance of three lighthouse keepers.
The first act of the film preparing the audience for the struggles to come is a bit slow paced and may have some viewers getting bored, but as the second act rolls in, the film kicks into high gear.
The main issue with The Vanishing is that it could have been much better. The audience does not really learn anything new about human behaviour, or the extent humans can go to, which is an element that should have been employed. Backstories for the characters were given but not immersed into the plot as to justify their actions, specifically for Thomas and Donald, and many more aspects that were unutilised opportunities.
The film is very well shot with precise, expressive frames, beautiful colouring, and wide, scenic landscapes.
The acting is what really made this film worth watching; Peter Mullen’s performance as Thomas was strong and reserved, but Mullen was able to do so much with so little and show emotion even through his most reserved moments. Gerard Butler was phenomenal, especially near the end when his performance evoked all kinds of feelings from audiences as they saw the gradual but drastic change in his character. Connor Swindells also did an excellent job with his impulsive character and was able to convey emotion as well as reactions to match those of his co-stars.
The Vanishing has three men spiralling to their own doom, three actors performing amazingly, and several missed opportunities. But, if you lower your expectations, you won’t mind.