Upon arriving in Paris, a doctor searches for his wife
who has mysteriously disappeared from their hotel room.
Directed by Roman Polanski
Written by Roman Polanski and Gérard Brach
Starring Harrison Ford, Betty Buckley, Emmanuelle Seigner,
John Mahoney, Yves Rénier, Gérard Klein, Yorgo Voyagis
Frantic sees Harrison Ford in a vulnerable position, something we don't often see him play. He's a doctor whose wife has vanished, and there's nothing he can do about it but search with only hope keeping him going. The film is a welcome surprise, maintaining an air of mystery throughout but stringing the audience along in just the right amount that we never get confused or bored. Ford delivers a strong performance that he would later pull on for The Fugitive, and the film is a hidden gem from the late 80's.
Ford is Dr. Richard Walker, who arrives in Paris with his wife Sondra (Betty Buckley). While he's in the shower, she disappears from their hotel room without a trace, and after he finds a lead in a suitcase she'd accidentally picked up instead of her own at the airport, he realizes she's been kidnapped by someone who wants what's in that suitcase. He teams up with a drug mule named Michelle (Emmanuelle Seigner) to find his wife and give them what they want. As the film progresses, we learn what exactly is in that suitcase, and it's definitely original. The film feels like 80's Hitchcock with a Polanski flair.
Frantic deserves to be more well-known. It's one of Harrison Ford's finest performances and one of Roman Polanski's more enjoyable works. It's all about the chase. Who's missing? Why were they taken? What is the bad guy really after? How do we get her back? The essential question for any movie involving a kidnapping plot, all of which are answered in ways that are far more interesting than they could've been.