J P’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sondra Walker: Do you know where you are?
Richard Walker: No, it's changed too much.
"Frantic" is a slow burning thriller by Roman Polanski that is influenced by the Hitchcock thrillers. Many times I was thinking back to scenes in numerous Hitchcock films that were almost directly transposed onto this film. Harrison Ford plays a distressed American doctor in Paris with his wife for a medical conference. Because of a mistake, someone kidnaps his wife, and it is up to him and a young, hip young lady that had brought the conspirators into his life (Emmanuelle Seigner, Polanski's future wife).
Although I could not get totally on board with the pacing and logic of the film, there are so many situational gems that Polanski constructs. Some of these are his friends and others mistaking the young lady for a mistress and a dance scene that is more used to show the confidence of the leads, but to the audience, each actor shows their nerves throughout the dance. My favorite scene utilizes a stunning framed shot from a shower window to a bedroom with sound mixing that creates a lack of knowledge. The "less is more" approach here creates a certain amount of fear that is more powerful than if everything was shown outright.
Ennio Morricone's score utilizing staccato strings and light drums colored the film with suspense. However, I felt like the score was under utilized, which, unfortunately, may be one reason the pacing felt off.
The most interesting part of the film is the slow character change of Ford's character from an amateur, bumbling tourist to one who, through desperation, learns how to act with a high degree of street smarts.
Although this is not among one of my favorite Polanski films I've watched, "Frantic" is a very entertaining thriller.