The Vanishing (2018 film)

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The Vanishing
The Vanishing 2019 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKristoffer Nyholm
Produced by
  • Gerard Butler
  • Maurice Fadida
  • Andy Evans
  • Sean Marley
  • Ade Shannon
  • D.G. Guyer
  • Mickey Gooch Jr.
  • James Lejsek
  • Matt Antoun
  • Alan Siegel
Written byCelyn Jones
Joe Bone
Music byBenjamin Wallfisch
CinematographyJørgen Johansson
Edited byMike Panikkou
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date
  • 11 October 2018 (2018-10-11) (Sitges Film Festival)
  • March 2019 (2019-03) (United Kingdom)
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget5 million
Box office15.7 million

The Vanishing, previously titled Keepers, is a 2019 British psychological thriller drama film directed by Kristoffer Nyholm and written by Celyn Jones and Joe Bone and set in the Flannan Isles, which are best known for the mysterious disappearance of three lighthouse keepers in 1900.[1][2] The film stars Gerard Butler and Peter Mullan. It was released in the UK in March 2019, after an earlier US release.[3]


Three men begin their six-week shift tending to the remote Flannan Isles Lighthouse. Donald (Connor Swindells), the youngest, is inexperienced and learning the trade from James (Gerard Butler) and Thomas (Peter Mullan). James has a family waiting for him on the mainland and Thomas is still mourning the loss of his own wife and children.

After a storm, the men discover a boat, a body, and a wooden chest washed ashore. Donald descends the cliffs to check on the man, who appears lifeless. As they are hauling up the chest, the man awakens and attacks Donald. In self-defense, Donald bashes the man's head with a rock and kills him.

Thomas is against opening the chest, but opens it alone, and keeps what he saw to himself.

Eventually the other two give in to their curiosity and find several gold bars inside. Urging caution and secrecy, Thomas proposes they dispose of the body, sneak the gold back to the mainland, and lay low for a year before splitting their shares.

Another boat arrives with two strangers, Locke (Søren Malling) and Boor (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), crewmates of the deceased. They interrogate Thomas, who claims the body and cargo have been reported and taken away, as per protocol. Locke and Boor leave, but attempt to contact the lighthouse by radio. Thomas and James are unable to respond due to their malfunctioning radio, revealing their lie. The strangers return with a fiery vengeance, circling the island until nightfall. In a violent struggle, James manages to strangle Boor and Donald kills Locke, using the woolding. Sensing another intruder outside, the keepers chase him through the darkness and James slashes him with a hook. He is horrified to discover he has killed a young boy, reminding him of his son.

After dumping all four dead bodies into the sea, the three men try to endure their remaining time on the island, despite mounting distrust and tension. James in particular becomes unhinged, secluding himself in the tiny chapel nearby. Donald grows uneasy and insists that he and Thomas leave with the gold. James suddenly reappears, apologizing for his behavior. Once Donald and Thomas have let their guards down, James locks Thomas in the pantry and strangles Donald. Thomas breaks free and subdues James by knocking him out.

Finally ready to depart the island, Thomas and James board the boat with the gold. After throwing Donald's body overboard, James tells Thomas he cannot bear to live with his guilt and lowers himself into the water. He calls for Thomas, who helps him drown. Thomas holds James's head under water then sails on alone.



On 31 October 2016 it was announced that a psychological thriller Keepers was in development, which Kristoffer Nyholm would make his directing debut from a script by Celyn Jones and Joe Bone.[4] Kodiak Pictures would fully finance the film along with Cross Creek Pictures, which would be produced by Andy Evans, Ade Shannon, and Sean Marley for Mad as Birds along with Gerard Butler and Alan Siegel for G-BASE, Maurice Fadida for Kodiak Pictures, and Brian Oliver for Cross Creek.[4] Butler, Peter Mullan and Connor Swindells would star as James, Thomas, and Donald, respectively, in the film inspired by a true unresolved 1900 mystery at the Flannan Isles Lighthouse.[4][5]

Principal photography on the film began in mid-April 2017 in Galloway, Scotland.[6] Locations included the Mull of Galloway, Port Logan harbour, Killantringan Lighthouse near Portpatrick and Corsewall Lighthouse near Stranraer.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

The Vanishing has an 89% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[8]


  1. ^ "Il mistero del faro delle Isole Flannan - Eilan More". Bottega Mistero (in Italian). 2015-03-20. Retrieved 2019-07-01.
  2. ^ McCloskey, Keith (2014). The Lighthouse: The Mystery of the Eilean Mor Lighthouse Keepers. The History Press. ISBN 978-0750953658.
  3. ^ "Gerard Butler's lighthouse mystery movie hits the big screen". BBC. 29 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Tartaglione, Nancy (31 October 2016). "Gerard Butler, Peter Mullan, Joe Alwyn Playing For 'Keepers' – AFM". Deadline. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  5. ^ Dennis Harvey, Film Review: ‘The Vanishing’, Variety.
  6. ^ "Filming starts for Eilean Mor lighthouse movie". 18 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Gerard Butler's lighthouse mystery movie hits the big screen". 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  8. ^, 9/19

External links[edit]