Vanishing on 7th Street

Dir: Brad Anderson
Star: Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, John Leguizamo, Jacob Latimore

I actually like films that don't feel the need to explain everything. However, there's a certain point beyond which opaqueness becomes more infuriating than intriguing, and Vanishing crossed that line about 20 minutes in - then kept going for another hour. Paul (Leguizamo) is a cinema projectionist when the lights go out - he leaves the booth to find everyone missing, with just their clothes lying on the ground where they were. The city seems deserted too, and over the following days, it appears darkness is upon the face of the Earth, He finds a bar, powered by a back-up generator, and is joined there by Luke (Christensen), Rosemary (Newton) and James, a kid whose mother used to work in the tavern. The four try to figure out what is going on, and how to avoid the darkness that appears to be responsible for the disappearances.

Why were these four left behind? Why is non-electric light never considered by the survivors? WHAT IS ACTUALLY GOING ON? CAN ANYONE TELL ME! Sorry, got a little carried away there, but rather than creating an air of mystery, the result feels an awful lot more like the writers just couldn't be bothered. I wonder what the did with the rest of the beer-mat on which this was apparently written? I'm left to presume there's some kind of rapture thing going on, but since it appears to have picked up 99.99% of the population, it's apparently not one by the most discerning of deities. I could handle the lack of explanation here, if there were some consistent rules for the characters to break at their peril, but the threat seems to pose only the degree of danger necessary to the plot at that moment. This plays very much like a Twilight Zone episode stretched out to three times the credible length, and given the lack of adequate resolution or exposition, it feels significantly worse than that.

[October 2011]

Vanishes up its own street
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