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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Frantic (released in 1988) - starring Harrison Ford, and directed by Roman Polanski

Frantic is a 1988 thriller film directed by Roman Polanski starring Harrison Ford and Emmanuelle Seigner.
Harrison Ford is Dr. Richard Walker, a doctor who comes to Paris with his wife for a medical conference. At the hotel, his wife is unable to open her suitcase and thus is determined to have picked up a wrong suitcase at the airport. But while he is taking a shower, his wife mysteriously disappears. He complains at the hotel desk and encounters an indifferent staff. As he ventures out on his own to search for her, a wino from the cafe informs him, that he saw his wife forcibly being taken in a car. Walker although initially reluctant to believe in such a possibility, discovers her ID from the sidewalk. He is convinced about the kidnapping and complains to the American embassy and the Parisian cops. But he gets typical bureaucratic replies which disgusts him and thus the panic sets in.

With no official help Walker in a frantic state moves on to the streets to find his wife. He steps in to a murder scene and finds an ally in a streetwise Young Michelle. Michelle reveals to him that she is a career smuggler who works for an unknown boss. She also informs him that his wife had mistakenly picked up her suitcase containing an unknown consignment. Soon the smugglers call in to trade his wife for the suitcase. Michelle agrees to help him in his search to trace his wife.
Walker, in his desperation tries to learn what is in the suitcase. He finds a Statue Of Liberty replica and learns that a Kryptron which is a small electronic switch used in the detonators of nuclear devices is hidden inside. Soon the matters come to head with the officials too closing on the pair. After an intense gun battle on the river Seine, the kidnappers release Sondra, Walker's wife. But Michelle is shot and a disgusted Walker just throws the Kryptron in to the river, challenging the villains and the officials.
This movie is a critics delight. It had a moderate box office success and is treated as Roman Polanski's better film's after Rosemary's Baby. The haunting background score by Ennio Morricone sets the tone for the suspense and Grace Jones' recording of "I've Seen That Face Before is played while Walker is talking to his daughter. Paris is not treated as romantic city with the favorite hot-spots like the Eiffel Tower not in the picture. Instead we are treated to haunting bleak cobble stoned dark alley and side ways.
Harrison Ford delivers a good performance as an anguished Walker and is one of his performance oriented roles. The whole premise is build on Sondra Walker's disappearance. Even thought he screen time is minimal for her, the director makes her the main object of affection, The beautiful Emanuele Seigner is also her best. Good movie and a thought provoking watch modeled on an Hitchcockian theme

Frantic (released in 1988) - starring Harrison Ford, and directed by Roman Polanski

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