Frantic is a 1988 thriller starring Harrison Ford and it was written and directed by Academy Award winning director Roman Polanski. Polanski is a very controversial film-maker, making very independent and outspoken films, his most famous being “Rosemary’s Baby” and the Oscar nominated “Chinatown” which starred Jack Nicholson. Polanski is notoriously famous for being a fugitive from the American justice system; in 1977 he was arrested for participating in sexual activities with a minor. He now lives in Paris, France and if he ever returns to American soil he will be arrested. In 2002 he won the best director Academy Award for “The Pianist”, which was accepted by Harrison Ford on his behalf, it wasn’t until 6 months after the ceremony when he received the award from Ford.
Harrison Ford plays Dr. Richard Walker, a man visiting Paris with his wife to attend a medical conference. While Walker is taking a shower, his wife mysteriously disappears from their hotel room, leaving few clues behind. Walker contacts various authorities to help him locate her, but their bureaucratic methods produce few results. As he takes the law into his own hands, he encounters cocaine dealers, a murder scene, and a streetwise young woman (Emmanuelle Seigner) who inadvertently had picked up his wife’s suitcase at the airport.
Frantic was a very underground film, after receiving poor box office takings in the form of under $30 million due to a lack of good promotion, however it’s popularity grew upon it’s video release. I found the film to be very entertaining once it got going, it was very slow at the beginning which I believe was supposed to be an effective build-up, giving us a clear look at how the couple are the stereotypical American sweethearts. It just didn’t come across unfortunately, I felt a sigh of relief when his wife went missing not sadness, and it gave the film a much needed kick start.
After that small stumbling block Frantic ending up being very entertaining; I enjoyed the suspense filled moments throughout, and the aspect of mystery in the film was compelling. The ending was very unexpectedly decent, but I thought Harrison Ford carried the film, and had “Han Solo” not been the star, it would have been soon forgotten.