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Review: Disappearance

A feebly existential family drama

Set in rural Norway, director Boudewijn Koole’s latest feature, Disappearance, is certainly a treat for the eyes. Shot beautifully, the stunning power of the icy landscapes, white forests, and nordic wildlife is captivating. Yet there is little to the film beyond these visuals.

Rifka Lodeizen stars as Roos, a woman who is terminally ill. Roos visits her somewhat estranged mother, hoping to reveal her illness, and over the course of the film the women’s relationship begins to warm. But the existential drama is far too thin. Roos, becoming flat in the face of impending death, feels empty. Rather than capturing an anhedonic fear, her behaviour, and reconciliation with those around her, is just numbing, and never quite enough to hold interest.

Against the backdrop of wintery near-wilderness, the film does have potential as an aesthetic study of snow. Glorified, nature becomes the star of the film where the humans are lacklustre. Ultimately, even with these images, Disappearance is not quite strong enough for a lasting impact.

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Chelsea Phillips-Carr

Chelsea Phillips-Carr is a freelance writer from Toronto. She has an MA in cinema studies.