If Brad Anderson's assured debut, Session 9, was spine-tingling
entertainment, then his latest effort, Vanishing on 7th Street, is
uninspired drudgery. As an admirer of his earlier works, I'm struggling to
find a single redeeming quality. Let's review:
INT. MOVIE THEATER -- NIGHT
Mid-aged film projectionist Paul (John Leguizamo) approaches the 19-year-old Venus working the concession stand. A dialogue ensues regarding the theater's current film lineup that ends with:
Nothing you'd like.
How would you know what I like? Maybe you should find out sometime. WINK WINK.
An exalted Paul retreats to his cubbyhole.
Detroit is plunged into darkness and a disparate group of people
(including Paul and physical therapist Rosemary) find themselves all
Do you think I have a shot?
Rosemary emits a puzzled look.
Not with you. I mean with anyone?
HOW ABOUT THE SEX GODDESS THAT EYE-RAPED YOU 10 MINUTES AGO. Did you forget about her? Is the audience supposed to have forgotten about her? What the F' is going on right?
Firstly, aside from the abovementioned dish, the only female in the picture is a disheveled ex-addict with bats in the belfry. There’s no sexy white female with whom Hayden Christensen can risk vanishing into the darkness to do the wild monkey dance.
Victims of the darkness leave behind piles of empty clothes. The unoccupied articles of dress feature more dynamic personalities than the survivors. Example:
Luke (Christensen) enters a lighted bar to find James (Jacob Latimore who receives the distinctive “and introducing” title in the opening credits). James opens fire on Luke with a shotgun. Luke responds by suggesting that the bar is not safe for either of them and that they should both flee ASAP. How does he determine this? He hasn’t explored the place. If he knew it was unsafe prior to entering then why did he enter? This is immediately followed by a comedic routine in which Luke threatens to leave James alone while tiptoeing to the door. They then proceed to remain at the bar for the remainder of the picture.
I think the name James is uttered at least one-hundred-fifty times throughout the movie.
Paul is so annoying I found myself rooting for his demise. When he was finally and anticlimactically dispatched, I felt my man-part twitch just a little.
The movie is devoid of style or flare. There is so little camera movement you’d swear you were watching a play. Anderson’s mastery of film language in Session 9 and The Machinist stimulated the nerve endings of viewers. His ineptitude here is truly unbelievable.
I guess the movie is a parable about the disintegration of Detroit and the effect of the city’s drug culture, but it doesn't work. It ends with the preposterous image of *SPOILER ALERT* two young children leaving the Motor City on horseback for, you guessed it, Chicago.