ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – F- Frantic (1988) Movie Review

Director: Roman Polanski

Writer: Roman Polanski, Gerard Brach (Screenplay)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Betty Buckley, Emmanuelle Seigner, Djiby Soumare, Dominique Virton, Gerard Klein

Plot: In a hotel room in Paris, a doctor comes out of the shower and finds that his wife has disappeared. He soon finds himself caught up in a world of intrigue, espionage, gangsters, drugs and murder.

Tagline – They’ve taken his wife. Now he’s taking action.

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow Burning Thriller

Story: Frantic starts when Dr Richard Walker (Ford) and his wife Sondra (Buckley) arrive in Paris for a business trip, only while Richard was in the shower, Sondra disappears, which leads to Richard going in search on the streets of Paris for his wife.

As Richard tries to learn about the truth about what happened to Sondra, he meets a local woman Michelle (Seigner) whose suitcase the couple accidentally take back to the hotel, could she have the answer or is there something bigger going on in Paris.

Thoughts on Frantic

Characters – Dr Richard Walker believes he is in Paris for a conference and holiday with his wife, only for her to disappear and him needing to search the streets of Paris for answer to a mystery he never expected to be involved in. Sondra is the missing wife, we only really see how the two are tighter more than anything, before she goes missing. Michelle is the local woman whose suitcase gets mixed up, she helps Richard get to the bottom of everything, despite being involved in a much bigger criminal world.

PerformancesHarrison Ford is mostly the only good thing about this movie, he does have the everyday man about him as he is struggle to learn the truth. Emmanuelle Seigner is strong, while the rest of the cast just doesn’t get enough time to do that much.

StoryThe story here follows an American whose wife goes missing in Paris and must try and learn the truth before it is too late, only to find himself in the middle of a much bigger conspiracy going on. This is a story that doesn’t seem to really get going despite having an idea of what it wants to tell us, it shows us just how out a place a tourist could be when a family member goes missing and helpless they might well be when looking for help. We do seem to get plenty of ideas of where the story could go, only it ends up just going at a snails pace.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film shows the world that Richard is thrown into and how he doesn’t know who to trust, which does help the mystery, only it doesn’t seem come to any level where it could be filled with peril.

SettingsParis does make for a lovely backdrop for the film, though we don’t seem to hit enough of the iconic locations.

Scene of the Movie – Rooftop sneaking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is just slow.

Final Thoughts This is a slow thriller that just doesn’t get going despite having Harrison Ford in the leading role.

Overall: Just doesn’t get going.

Leave a Reply