To have a film described as "Hitchcockian" is a real testament to the old master and his work's longevity. The Vanishing is a unique and chilling French thriller which is undeniably Hitchcockian. A couple travelling through the French countryside stop at a service station for a break. The woman leaves for the restrooms and never returns. She simply vanishes. The film then alternates between her partner's exhaustive 3 year search for answers and her abductor's methodical planning of the kidnapping. It's an unnerving film riddled with detail and observation and commands repeat viewings. The villain of the story is a truly disturbing character portrayed in one of the most understated performances I have seen of a bad guy. The Vanishing is a gripping experience which if seen for the first time is unpredictable and astonishing. When seen several times it proves to be one of the most precise and astounding thrillers of all time. If you have never seen it, do.
Note: Don't mistake this for the 1993 American remake starring Kiefer Sutherland and Jeff Bridges. It was made by the same director but seriously lacks the substance of the superior original.