Please note – This film is also known as “Keepers”. Based on a true story, the film is about three men who mysteriously disappeared while on duty at a Lighthouse in Scotland (not a spoiler, the film tells us this at the start)
Three lighthouse keepers arrive at an island for their routine duty as caretakers. We see them prepare and conduct a general tidy up, including cleaning the mighty light itself. While on the island, the three men discover what appears to be a dead man stranded with his destroyed boat. With the dead man is a colossal chest and our film only becomes more interesting from here.
As a plot, this may only interest a selective amount of cinema lovers. I say this because the plot is nothing new or overly thrilling despite my Bluray case stating it would be. The Vanishing is a drama which tells a rather tragic tale. The film employs a rather lengthy opening to get the plot underway. Once the leads find the chest, we can predict what happens. Next, discussions about what’s in the chest, how people will be looking it for and blah blah blah, tension rises among the men.
As the film began, I was instantly disappointed with the film’s camera work. In the opening scene, the filming was so weak I considered turning the movie off and giving up. Thankfully once our three leads arrive at the lighthouse things improve but only in a minor way. At this point, the film manages to show some great landscape shots capturing the awesomeness of Scotland. But during critical scenes, be prepared to be bothered by the filming style.
As far as performances go there are many great moments to witness, particularly with both actors Gerald Butler & Peter Mullan. But these excellent performances feel wasted because the plot is such a slow burn. I was also saddened to see main characters do the opposite of what they verbally said and agreed to do over and over again. The film’s dialogue was also challenging to hear at selected times, and the Bluray Edition I purchased included zero subtitles to check the film’s dialogue.
No real film soundtrack is to be found here either which would have helped enhance the tension between characters (a missed opportunity for a so-called thriller).
Overall, The Vanishing is an unfortunately slow burn with extremely annoying camera work. As a plot, I feel some audiences will enjoy it but sadly I’m not one of them. In the end, I felt this was nothing new or overly exciting. The film’s ending is also slightly rushed and empty. If you enjoy a plot like this, I highly recommend checking out “A Simple Plan” (1998).
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Review Written by Peter Walkden