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.
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.
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