Sunday, May 22, 2011

So much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the wrong luggage...

Well, it was either that, or go with "Worst case of lost luggage EVER!" Sometimes you gotta go with the haute couture stuff you learned in high school.
Damn! Has it been almost twenty years since I first saw Frantic? I stumbled upon this in a double-feature DVD with Presumed Innocent, and I thought... why not? I heard that Presumed Innocent was one of the films that M. Night Shyamalan watched before making The Sixth Sense, so maybe there's something to it! I don't want to be deprived of any riches. Anyway, the ending of Frantic isn't as sad as I thought it was. I had forgotten what ultimately becomes of the Emmanuelle Seigner character. There are some critics who say she can't act, but I tell you what... I'll be damned if she doesn't earn some stunt woman credentials on this pic! She falls down, as pictured in the still, some guy practically wrings her neck in one scene... I guess that was about it. And even Maxim magazine has to admit she's a terrific dancer. Why, I'll bet even Harrison Ford was thinking, my wife's gone. It's time to accept it. Oh, but I gave away the premise already. Phooey.
France must've been a nice country to sit out the Cold War in. Why, you barely notice it if not for the blatant espionage-related plot device! Harrison Ford and his wife are in France to attend some conference where he's supposed to give a presentation. With color slides, no less! Boy, those were the days. The cab ride to the hotel is a bad omen. Anyway, for those first 30 minutes or so, you get caught up in the drama of it all, as Ford's wife goes missing. See, she grabbed the wrong suitcase at the airport and...
I hate to say it, but Harrison Ford's probably not the right guy for this kind of material. Well, he does pretty good. If Roman didn't get along with him, that is. Ain't that always the case? Well, he probably wasn't the pain-in-the-ass that Charles Grodin was on the set of Rosemary's Baby. No, in this and The Fugitive, Ford proves his acting chops. Still, he's Indiana Jones and Han Solo! He's got certain modes he can never totally escape. I haven't studied up on it completely... also, his voice seems too deep and measured, when what we need is whiny and urgent. Still, he's the only guy who could do it.
It's an interesting cultural mix if nothing else. You've got the other American actors that make their way into the film. The Big Lebowski co-stars as a loud American waiting to see Ford's presentation. And there's plenty of French actors you've never heard of. Ford experiences culture shock when he tries to speak French without his wife to help him. And there's just something about that Emmanuelle Seigner! Roman saw it, and damn it, so do I. She plays pretty much the same part she does in The Ninth Gate, only a little younger here and more impulsive. Lucky girl.
I dunno. The whole exercise seems pretty slight to me. Apparently, the ending was changed, and 15 minutes cut out of the film. I'd be interested to see a digitally remastered director's cut... just not that interested. If they fail to put one out, I won't be heart-broken over it. And I must say, composer Ennio Morricone... he's got the theme to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly to his credit. Other than that, I'm not terribly impressed. The opening theme seems very very dated now. For a similar opening credit sequence, see David Cronenberg's Crash; as for the rest of Crash, you're on your own on that one.

good double bill with: The Ninth Gate, After Hours?

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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