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The movie follows an enigmatic detective as he embarks on a cross-country search for a once-prominent author who's mysteriously disappeared after a string of dangerous arsons have targeted his celebrated but controversial first novel.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy of The Vanishing of Sidney Hall is that nobody told writer/director Shawn Christensen that his gag-on-impact green smoothie of dated arthouse tropes was, in fact, a comedy.
The most passable lens through which to watch writer-director Shawn Christensen's risible indie drama "The Vanishing of Sidney Hall" is by counting the many ways it grates as both an agonized-artist pity party and a male fantasy of envied power.
It's ambitious, takes risks, and contains some finely crafted lines ("Life isn't very interesting unless you're a bit psychotic"), and yet I'm still not sure I could recommend you give up two hours of your life to see it.
The artificially constructed nature of the narrative gives the supposedly shocking revelations way too much importance, essentially subjugating any sense of character development and flaws to its mystery-type structure.