ROMAN POLANSKI’S FRANTIC — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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Roman Polanski’s Frantic was maybe his most overt nod to Hitchcock, and features a strong turn from Harrison Ford as a man who has his life turned upside down when his wife is kidnapped while on vacation in France. One thing leads to another, and before you know it, he’s caught in a game of international intrigue, with a potentially dangerous femme fatale waiting to muck things up. There’s a bit of some tonal inconsistency at times, but nothing to derail the picture, and you might question some of Ford’s actions in the final reel, but overall this is a fun mystery thriller that seems to be mostly forgotten in the realm of Polanski’s filmography. It’s got visual and verbal wit, Ennio Morriconne’s twisty score adds an extra layer to the entire piece, and Polanksi seemed to be delighted by throwing Ford through the ringer all throughout the piece. Look for a very young and gorgeous Emmanuelle Seigner (Polanski’s wife) as the mysterious woman who may or may not be more than she appears to be, while the eclectic supporting cast includes Dominique Pinon, John Mahoney, Betty Buckley, and David Huddleston. The film was well received by critics but did only moderate box office. Witold Sobocinski’s sharp cinematography keeps the vantage points smartly out of focus in crucial moments, while possessing an overall visual crispness at almost every other turn. Robert Towne did uncredited rewrites on the screenplay.

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