Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I was getting really into this movie during the first 20 minutes, which is more or less devoid of action. A married couple arrive in Paris and check into a hotel, make a few phone calls, and lounge around. But the attention to detail reminded me of my favorite Roman Polanski film, Rosemary's Baby. That one keeps you wondering what will happen until the last frame, but in Frantic all the cards are laid out pretty early on, and they will make you yawn. They include drug dealers, terrorists, a make-believe component of a nuclear device that is small enough to hide in your luggage but important enough to kill people for, and a cute French girl for Harrison Ford's character to team-up with and try to sort it all out. Maybe there was a time when this formula worked, but most filmmakers working today know that you have to add comedy, romance, martial-arts, or at the very least a clever twist. The world has changed, and for any half-intelligent viewer just getting the bad guy, by itself, will never be satisfying again.