Consider The Rapture gone terribly wrong
What if the Rapture is not as it has been alluded to in Thessalonians in the New Testament of the Christian Bible? What if collected souls are just spirits in the shadows of a lightless world suddenly sprung upon an unsuspecting people, who struggle against hope to persevere?
In "Vanishing on the 7th Street," there is no mercy from a loving God, only the struggle to exist, to continue in spite of overwhelming, and yet unknown odds, and despair - oppressive, irrepressible despair. "Vanishing" is the genre of film that leaves one begging for the possible real Rapture: Take me now Lord. Spare me from the darkness, the nothingness of the blank hereafter, or could it be the never was?
If Director Brad Anderson and Writer: Anthony Jaswinski wanted to project a sense of hopelessness, they were successful. If they wished to build a film that frightened the life out of you during your cinema viewing moments, they failed. The culprit: The plodding nature of the film that offers plenty of dramatic tension through conflict, and not one hint of dramatic resolution. The film did make one think; however, and the thought was despair.
Hayden Christenson, as Luke (Ironic? "Luke, I am your father."), first discovers that few people remain in the streets of Detroit: Above. And soon he learns to keep whatever light he can find close: Below.
The film had just five actors of any substance whatsoever. Why? The rest had vanished.
Hayden Christensen, as Luke, John Leguizamo, as Paul, Thandie Newton, as Rosemary and Jacob Latimore, as James, are stranded in the streets of Detroit, Michigan searching for light (natural and synthetic) as each day grows progressively shorter. The simple premise: In the light one is safe. In the dark, there is little hope. Not much of a platform to build any resolve for the audience's empathy. These five actors are all that was left to render any character driven message for most of the film, and later with Taylor Groothuis, as the lost little girl, Briana, who joined whom remained of that troupe very late in the story. It just was not enough to pull the film together.
John Leguizamo, as Paul, cannot escape the groping shadow souls: Below. Thandie Newton, as Rosemary, and Jacob Latimore, as James, find unrelated (by blood-kin) fellowship amidst the impending despair: Below.
I love to be frightened by scary stories, but one finds the frightening aspects within this film are not presented in any real context. The only three male characters in this film, consequently, were given the names of three of the most prominent men from the New Testament. Considering, the aforementioned conspicuous reference to The Rapture, the movie still did not draw from that "Good Book" any significant dramatic tension that permeated into the fabric of the film. In the 92 minutes it took to render this story, growing weaker, minute by minute, I just was not sold. It is not a bad film. I just could not find the niche that the originators of this story meant to present.
Rated R. Released in theaters January 7, 2011.
This post appears courtesy of our sister site, Beaufort County NOW, with their expressed permission.