Sunday, June 14, 2009


Frantic; Thriller, France/ USA, 1987; D: Roman Polanski, S: Harrison Ford, Emmanuelle Seigner, Betty Buckley, John Mahoney

American surgeon Dr. Richard Walker is visiting Paris with his wife Sondra. In the hotel, the notice that because of a misunderstanding they got an unknown suitcase. While he is in the shower, his wife makes a phone call. When he gets out of the shower, she is gone. He reports her absence to the hotel security and the police, but they can't help him. Some man tells him he saw the kidnapping of a woman. Some traces lead Richard to a guy named Didi who is found dead in an apartment. There he meets his assistant, criminal Michelle. She explains him that the suitcase he mistakenly got was hers and thus terrorists kidnapped his wife. They discover a microchip capable of detonating nuclear devices. The first exchange of the chip for Sondra fails. But the second one succeeds, even though the criminals and Michelle die. Richard throws the chip in the river.

Director Roman Polanski shot only 2 films in the 80s, the first one being "Pirates" and the second being "Frantic", a not especially original nor especially suspenseful thriller. Somewhat inclined towards Hitchcock, both towards the title and the motif of a hero lost in a crime milieu which he doesn't understand while others don't take him seriously, this is, from technical aspect, a wonderfully shot, modern looking film, but from the creative aspect it seems bland, bleak and needlessly grotesque, especially in showing France in a rather negative light where people get kidnapped and the police is incompetent to solve anything. The mood is one-dimensional and too serious, ultimately leading towards the grey territory and even starts to drag at times, the characters aren't anything special, the story is inadequate for frequent viewings while the conclusion is shaky. Still, thanks to Polanski's direction, it's a solid film and his fans could find some deeper layers if they completely adjust towards his rhythm, while Harrison Ford is one again in top notch shape, even in the bizarre scene where he gets out of the room naked, holding only a teddy bear in front of his intimate part.


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