‘Spoorloos’ is Dutch for ‘Vanishing’. If you like to watch some really overwhelming movies, perfectly directed, with unique stories, then, do watch this one. I do not think that movie is visually as lurid and horrifying as it’s existentially. The movie is very pessimistic in outlook. The characters of the story have been played out almost flawlessly by all of the actors but the most impressive performance was by Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu as Raymond Lemorne, who is the monster villain in the movie. As other reviewers have also recommended, do not watch the 1993 American remake by the same director prior to watching original(Dutch/French) one.
Many things are symbolic in the plot and the true motives of the antagonist remain obfuscated, in spite of all the interlocution between him and the protagonist towards the climax of the movie. You witness the story from the ever puzzling viewpoint of the villain but you keep on wondering about his intentions and the very simplicity of his demeanor makes you believe that he couldn't have done something grim. The movie is visually impeccable and starts with a strikingly pleasant soundtrack, which is played only in climax again methinks.
Unlike gore horror movies where blatantly rubbish stories are worsened by clownish characters; this movie has everything ordinary and yet it’s so saturnine, so neptunian and so dramatically dark and gloomy that it compels you to feel the sadness which haunts the protagonist throughout the movie.
The viewpoints of all characters are quite well developed but the most well developed perspective is that of the villain, who is evil yet mysteriously fascinating and who lives otherwise a very normal existence. The crimes perpetrated by him are because of his boredom and curiosity and he is a mastermind who leaves no trace behind him.
The climax definitely shocks and would have appalled most of the viewers because nothing of that sort would have been witnessed by them before this movie, but for me, it was not so stunning because I have already watched Buried before watching this movie. I think that Buried took over from where this movie ended.
Claustrophobia is leit motif in Buried and Spoorloos. In Spoorloos, you find that villain is claustrophobic and he shows a medical certificate as a proof to a traffic policeman who stops his car and asks the reason for his not fastening the seat belt. He is a sadist making his victims undergo extremely claustrophobic death.
This is one of the best movies I have ever watched and like any true mystery movie this one also maintains mystery even after it ends. The true reasons which goad the antagonist to commit crimes are not revealed. The antagonist however is, like Hannibal, a very curious and intriguing character!