Frantic (1988)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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

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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.
Rating:
R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Genre:
Action & Adventure , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Warner Home Video

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Cast

Harrison Ford
as Dr. Richard Walker
Alan Ladd
as Bellboy
Marcel Bluwal
as Man in Tweed
Patrick Floersheim
as Man in Leather
Betty Buckley
as Sondra Walker
Roch Leibovici
as Bellboy
Gérard Klein
as Gaillard
Marc Dudicourt
as Cafe Owner
Yorgo Voyagis
as The Kidnapper
Yves Rénier
as Inspector
Laurent Spielvogel
as Hall Porter
Tina Sportolaro
as TWA Clerk
Thomas M. Pollard
as Rastafarian
Louise Vincent
as Tourist
Bruce Johnson
as Marine Guard
Raouf Ben Amor
as Dr. Metlaoui
Michael Morris
as U.S. Embassy Clerk
Alain Doutey
as Hall Porter
Jacques Ciron
as Hotel Manager
David Jalil
as Bodyguard
Robert Barr
as Irwin
Boll Boyer
as Dede Martin
Richard Dieux
as Desk Cop
Patrice Melennec
as Hotel Detective
Claude Doineau
as U.S. Embassy Clerk
Fonky French Family
as Houseboat Band
Robert Ground
as U.S. Security Officer
Jean-Claude Houbard
as Dead Driver
Ella Jaroszewicz
as Restroom Attendant
Joelle Lagneau
as Florist
Isabelle Noah
as Houseboat Owner
Andre Quiqui
as Barman
Djiby Soumare
as Taxi Driver
Dominique Virton
as Desk Clerk
Louise Vinceni
as Tourist
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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
Variety
Top Critic

Funny and unsettling.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Vintage Polanski.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

Even with its excesses, Frantic is a reminder of how absorbing a good thriller can be.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Frantic

½

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
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
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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