Frantic (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

Frantic (1988)



Critic Consensus: A tense, on-point thriller in the vein of Polanski's earlier work.

Movie Info

San Francisco doctor Harrison Ford and his wife Betty Buckley journey to Paris, where Ford is to lecture at a major medical conference. The day of their arrival, Betty happens to pick up the wrong suitcase at the airport; the next day, she completely vanishes from sight. Receiving surprisingly little help from the authorities, who assume that the missing Betty is off on a romantic rendezvous, Ford launches his own investigation, only to be sucked into a maelstrom of espionage and international terrorism. Frantic proved positively that director Roman Polanski had not lost his touch during his three-year absence from films.more
Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Roman Polanski, Gérard Brach
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 1, 2004
Warner Home Video


Harrison Ford
as Dr. Richard Walker
Betty Buckley
as Sondra Walker
Yorgo Voyagis
as The Kidnapper
Gérard Klein
as Gaillard
Jacques Ciron
as Hotel Manager
Thomas M. Pollard
as Rastafarian
Boll Boyer
as Dede Martin
Fonky French Family
as Houseboat Band
Djiby Soumare
as Taxi Driver
Dominique Virton
as Desk Clerk
Patrice Melennec
as Hotel Detective
Alan Ladd
as Bellboy
Ella Jaroszewicz
as Restroom Attendant
Michael Morris
as U.S. Embassy Clerk
Marc Dudicourt
as Cafe Owner
Richard Dieux
as Desk Cop
Yves Rénier
as Inspector
Alain Doutey
as Hall Porter
Robert Ground
as U.S. Security Office...
Bruce Johnson
as Marine Guard
Tina Sportolaro
as TWA Clerk
Patrick Floersheim
as Man in Leather
Marcel Bluwal
as Man in Tweed
Isabelle Noah
as Houseboat Owner
David Jalil
as Bodyguard
Raouf Ben Amor
as Dr. Metlaoui
Claude Doineau
as U.S. Embassy Clerk
Laurent Spielvogel
as Hall Porter
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Frantic

Critic Reviews for Frantic

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (6)

[Polanski's] usual surrealism is almost completely absent.

Full Review… | February 19, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A thriller without much surprise, suspense or excitement.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

Funny and unsettling.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

[Polanski] has succeeded in picking up the clever, unnerving thread of his earlier career.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Vintage Polanski.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

...a solid, consistently entertaining piece of work that boasts a typically stellar performance from Harrison Ford.

Full Review… | July 24, 2011
Reel Film Reviews

Audience Reviews for Frantic


Frantic, unfortunately doesn't present the great surrealist style of Polanski, but show a creative and tense plot with surprising moments. Fresh.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

I was expecting an average thriller, but ended up with a bit less here. (Never contented, am I?) Not bad to kill time, though. The actors were fine, but their characters were hardly so. So, unless you're a die-hard Polanski/Ford fan and/or are running out of options, this isn't something to anxiously look forward to.

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

A doctor's wife disappears in Paris, and using only the clues in a misplaced suitcase and the help of a mysterious woman, he must find her before she is killed or he is arrested.
This is a classic noir film directed by one of the genre's masters, Roman Polanski. The young Harrison Ford shows his acting chops in the film's dramatic scenes, and the final sequence is shot remarkably well with angles and camera movement that are reminiscent of classic noirs. I saw a couple homages to Touch of Evil during this climax. I also thought the relationship between Walker and Michelle, played by Emmanuelle Seigner, was well-developed. It's obvious that she captures both Walker's attraction and repulsion. He is simultaneously drawn to her as he reviles her lifestyle and the threat she poses to his marriage.
However, the film moves quite slowly throughout. It's not as bad as The American, but it certainly lacks sequences of action, surprise, or intrigue until act three. Even then, the film's action sequences are relatively predictable.
I also found it cliche that the kidnappers are identified as Arabs, and their ethnicity seems to be the only motive for their actions. Even in 1988 Arabs are the go-to terrorists.
Finally, Walker first clue is a pack of matches in the suitcase, and I found it ham-handedly coincidental that this minor clue leads him on the right track. I recently re-watched A Very Long Engagement, and though these two films are remarkably different in many substantive ways, I liked how the mystery in Jeunet's film had so many dead-ends, which gave the film a far more realistic feel than thrillers like Frantic.
Overall, Polanski's film is good, but I recommend it with a few reservations.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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