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'Disappearances'

The third in Jay Craven’s trilogy of “Vermont frontier films,” Disappearances is at heart the story of a boy and his weirdo dad: Wild Bill (Charlie McDermott), who isn’t wild, and Quebec Bill (Kris Kristofferson), who definitely isn’t from Quebec. They live on a farm (presumably not very profitable, since Bill père spends his days cooking up schemes to seed the clouds), along with the prophetess-esque Aunt Cordelia (a dazed-looking Geneviève Bujold), who sees dead people and has a thing for Paradise Lost. When the barn that houses the family menagerie burns down in a lightning storm, the two embark on a bootlegging run across the Canadian border. The promised payoff? A cool grand, plus some requisite father-son bonding time. What might have been a pleasant exercise in nostalgia for Prohibition-era hijinks is ruined by phony mysticism and a too-intricate subplot involving “the feral whiskey pirate Carajou” (Lothaire Bluteau), who may or may not be Quebec Bill’s long-lost, long-hated dad. Kristofferson is charming, but he leans too heavily on his bad boy persona. McDermott, meanwhile, is fatally miscast; the tone and cadence of his eye-rolling Oh, Dad’s are pure ’90s sitcom.


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