Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: Get 6 Issues For £15
Get Empire magazine today and save money!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Harrison Ford
Betty Buckley
Emmanuelle Seigner.
Directors
Roman Polanski.
Screenwriters
Gerard Brach
Roman Polanski.
Running Time
120 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Honeymoon
3 Star Empire Rating
Last Impresario, The
3 Star Empire Rating
I Origins
4 Star Empire Rating
Soul Boys Of The Western World
4 Star Empire Rating
What We Did On Our Holiday
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Frantic
Polanski turns his blade-like gaze on Paris, where he cuts through the people-watching surface to reveal enough foul play to frighten even Harrison Ford.


submit to reddit


Plot
While attending a medical conference in Paris, Dr. Richard Walker’s wife mysteriously disappears. With the authorities proving no help, he takes matters into his own hands, hooking up the awkward beautiful Michelle who knows something she’s not telling.


Review

Here’s a terrific set-up. Roman Polanski does Hitchcock in Paris with Harrison Ford in the lead, and for the first half it more than lives up to its billing. Ford working well against type, ditches the macho-crap, that aura of dominant certainty, for a nerveball academic stumped that a situation like this would ever force entry into the safe confines of his life. During an early action sequence, he stumbles after the heroin-chic fatale-charms of Emmanuelle Seigner’s Michelle across slippery rooftops desperately trying to quell the tide of vertigo-induced nausea. Never have we seen Indiana Jones so unmanned.

Suffused with paranoia, as Walker bounces off the faceless wall of indifference of the authorities — he traverses the usual stations of concierge, embassy and police to no avail — Polanski both references the sharp trill of the master’s games and also plays with the form. Walker’s xenophobic tendencies are teasingly forced back into his face. And he must sink beneath the city’s glittery surface into the sordid haunts of the Parisian underworld where the film starts to hint at obviousness, swiftly exhausting its invention.

This stiff doctor, his face a picture of frustration and distaste, is tugged through punkish nightclubs and across the regulation parade of weirdoes toward some kind of denouement. And this being Polanski, he gets suitably excited by the effect this sleek, sexy girl is having on Walker. Seigner, in her first film, is quite something, pouty and exotic, a livewire. You half want Walker to forgo the absconded wife for this slender flame of a girl.

The film finally collapses in its writing. Out of all this labyrinthine plotting and flirting, emerges a flaccid ending so silly it threatens to ruin the film. It certainly spoils the clammy atmosphere of alien threat — that it could be this strange city itself that has stolen his wife. And from the director of Chinatown that is unforgivable.


Verdict
Frantic is Polanski's most satisfying film since Chinatown, and one of the best traditional thrillers to come down the pike in quite some time.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Frantic
Empire Star Rating

A taut thriller that plays on Harrison Ford's mannerisms and acting ability. Polanski wrings out enough tension and also some comic relief, although on occasion it was unintentional. Some great dialogue too: "thats S for shithead". Brilliant! In two hours there is enough choice moments to create an almost perfect film. under rated but not by me. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by 6thplace at 22:50, 10 May 2006 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

The Future Of Film: Your Favourite Movie WIll Be Crowdfunded
Click here to donate

The Empire Podcast #128: Interviews With Sir Roger Moore And George MacKay
Plus we say goodbye to Richard Kiel and the British Expendables are assembled...

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)