Hallowing Halloween (3): From Gone Missing to Taking Charge
Look at the resume of many Hollywood stars and you’ll find a dues-paying role in a thriller/horror/fantasy film during their rise to prominence and thus can take their place in any roundup of scary movie favorites for Halloween. Academy Award® winner Sandra Bullock headlines this Friday’s new theatrical release Our Brand Is Crisis, playing a political handler who takes charge of a presidential campaign in Bolivia. She wasn’t in charge in director George Sluizer’s American remake of his 1988 Dutch thriller The Vanishing (1993); as the abductee of a psychopathic killer (Jeff Bridges) and girlfriend of a obsessive, grief-stricken man (Kiefer Sutherland) looking for her, Bullock’s performance comes in bits and pieces through Sluizer’s flashback structure. The scenario quickly uncovers the cracks in the Bullock/Sutherland relationship, the discomfort that moves her to leave their car and speak to a stranger at a gas station, and has a bearing on the huge weight of guilt afflicting Sutherland after she disappears. The recurring image of her face reminds us that in this battle of wills between predator and pursuer, there’s a valuable life at stake and souls that need redemption. With an unnerving score by Jerry Goldsmith on an isolated track, The Vanishing is available on Twilight Time hi-def Blu-ray. And 22 years and 37 movies later, Bullock has by no means vanished.