IMDb Rating: 5.8/10
R | 1h 47min | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 4 January 2019 (USA)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85% Fresh (Critics), 49% Rotten (Audiences)
Director: Kristoffer Nyholm
Writer: Celyn Jones, Joe Bone
Stars: Peter Mullan, Gerard Butler, Connor Swindells
IMDb summary: Three lighthouse keepers on the remote Flannan Isles find a hidden trunk of gold, leading to their mysterious disappearance
Real life mysteries are fun. It’s interesting to speculate about what really happened, especially if there are weird circumstances behind the mystery such as three perfectly reasonable lighthouse keepers disappearing off the face of the Earth! They’re lighthouse keepers. What could be mysterious about that?
The journey of our three lighthouse keepers begins in the 1900s off the coast of Scotland – an Island called Flannan Isles. The men who worked as lighthouse keepers were as rugged as the terrain they were charged to look after. Gerard Butler (James) and Peter Mullan (Thomas) are every bit the characters they portray – burly men with calloused hands and weather-worn faces. The third man of the group, young and undisciplined Donald, is the odd man out in every way, and this proves to be an essential part of the storytelling once the situation between the three men becomes dire.
After finding a man washed up on the rocks at the bottom of a cliff, Donald is almost killed trying to retrieve what looks like an expensive chest when the man comes to and attacks him. One thing leads to another, and before the men realise the gravity of the situation, they are carrying the chest back to the house with the anticipation of discovering what might be worth dying for hidden inside.
Although it states in the trailer they based the film on actual events, that’s most likely not the case as far as the “events” go. The story of how the three men disappeared and how the events unfolded during their time on the Island is pure speculation. There is no proof to confirm precisely what happened, but The Vanishing does a decent job of filling in the blanks, resulting in an entertaining thriller. It might not be “white-knuckle” stuff, but it does leave you with an uncomfortable feeling when you think about what could have happened to the three men.
The acting talent is part of what drew me to it. Peter Mullan is incredible in anything he does, and Gerard Butler also impressed with his portrayal of James, a role that he embodies on every level.