Directed by: Kristoffer Nyholm
Starring: Gerard Butler, Peter Mullan, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Connor Swindells
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Release date: 18 January 2019
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Three lighthouse keepers on the remote Flannan Isles find a hidden trunk of gold, leading to their mysterious disappearance.
The Vanishing, previously titled Keepers, is a 2019 Scottish psychological thriller film directed by Kristoffer Nyholm and written by Celyn Jones and Joe Bone and set in the Flannan Isles which have been notorious for the mystery disappearance of three lighthouse keepers in 1900. The film stars Gerard Butler and Peter Mullan.
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. Cross Creek Pictures would fully finance the film, 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, and Brian Oliver for Cross Creek. Butler and Peter Mullan would star as James, Thomas, and Donald, respectively, in the film inspired from a true unresolved story.
Principal photography on the film began in mid-April 2017 in Galloway, Scotland.
The Vanishing Movie: Trailer
The Vanishing Movie: Plot
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 initially against opening the chest, but eventually the three 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 vengeance, circling the island until nightfall. In a violent struggle, James manages to strangle Boor and Donald kills Locke. 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 pushes his head back down and sails on alone.