Frantic

Frantic ★★★★

''No corpse stinks that much after only 12 hours. Take my word for it. Yes, I am a doctor.''

Here I was drifting through life, always thinking I had seen Roman Polanski's Frantic. Was it that overly familiar poster art that I glanced at a thousand times on the VHS box from my days back in the video store where I worked? It turns out that I had never actually seen this cracking little Hitchcockian thriller complete with 'the wrong man' scenario (well sort of) and textbook MacGuffin that even the master of suspense himself would have been proud of.

From the opening act where we play a fly on the wall to Harrison Ford's Dr. Richard Walker and his wife Sondra's private life, I was hooked. Polanski is a master at slow-burn and claustrophobic tension, and he applies it here generously, drawing the audience down the rabbit hole through Ford's eyes. Sporting some breathtaking sequences (including a marvellously staged scene of Ford on a roof having all sorts of grief with a suitcase), a tasteful Ennio Morricone soundtrack that keeps some of the typical 80's naffness at bay and committed performances by all, I wasn't even concerned that the final stretch had me scratching my head at many points as to what was actually happening.

It seems some have found this a little slow, dull and perhaps even a tad silly, but I was riveted from beginning to end, and would place it alongside his 2010 film The Ghost Writer as an example of Polanski's ability to create a thriller that delivers the goods. Who the hell doesn't love that charisma that Harrison Ford was emitting in the 80's, or the pretty young thing that is Emmanuelle Seigner!

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