Vanishing, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -2 1/2

THE VANISHING turns out to be a rather sophisticated, suspenseful horror mystery. However, it does have its gruesome scenes in keeping with the film's genre. It tells the story of a demented chemistry professor, Barney Cousins (Jeff Bridges), who lives with his family in beautiful Washington state. Being mentally unstable, Barney decides he must "prove himself" by killing people and burying them alive. His first attempt is made on Diane Shaver (Sandra Bullock), the attractive fiancee of writer Jeff Harriman (Keith Sutherland). Diana just disappears one day at a large service station market where she and Jeff are buying gas. Jeff is devastated and becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her. In his search, he meets Rita Baker (Nancy Travis), a local waitress. They develop a genuine attraction for each other and she, of course, moves in with him. The tension escalates when Barney decides to make Jeff his next victim. Unfortunately, the culmination of the film is rather mediocre and unsatisfying. During most of the film, though, viewers will be engrossed by its mystery and suspense.

Surprisingly, THE VANISHING doesn't revel in sadistic violence, although it has enough to qualify for a horror film. In one scene, Barney buries a live victim in a wooden box and the audience watches the victim struggling to get out. Further, several violent confrontations show kicking, beating, hands being burned and cut, and brutal striking with metal and wooden objects. The most bloody battle comes, though, when Jeff attacks Barney with an ax. Before Diane disappears, she and Jeff share a close, loving relationship. When Jeff and Rita live together, no sexual encounters are shown, but a sexual relationship can be assumed. Not surprising, a number of obscenities are blurted out by some of the characters, including many s-words and several f-words and profanities. THE VANISHING suffers from some excessively graphic violence, offensive language and the usual implied acceptable sexual relationship between an unmarried couple.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
20th Century Fox, P. O. Box 900, Beverly Hills, CA 90213

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Mild - Twice

Obscene Language: Many (21) times (s-word 14, f-word 7)

Profanity: Several (8) times - Regular 6 (JC,J,GD); Exclamatory 3 (Oh God)

Violence: Many times - Moderate and severe (kicking, beating, fighting, striking with heavy objects, hands burned and cut, head pushed in mud, burying persons alive, bloody ax battle, spiders put in lunch box)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None, but unmarried couple live together.

Drugs: Few times (Persons chloroformed; drugged coffee)

Other: None

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