Polanski's thriller boasts several superb set pieces, even if it doesn't quite snap shut on the mind the way Chinatown did. Dr Walker (Ford) checks into a Paris hotel with his wife (Buckley) to attend a conference. She has collected the wrong suitcase at the airport, their problems escalate, and to watch how Polanski calibrates the build-up of disquiet in a standard hotel suite until the wife disappears is deeply satisfying. Walker is suddenly alone with the unimaginable in alien territory, asking for help. Officialdom won't take him seriously and he resorts to clues lit by match flares. We are in film noir territory. The wrong suitcase leads him to a corpse, and then to Michelle (Seigner), a swinging chick who attaches herself to his quest. Polanski's penchant for the surreal goes adrift on one dislocation involving the Statue of Liberty through a porthole, but scores heavily with Ford's increasingly disreputable returns to base, a discreet, tiptoe hotel into which he creeps shoeless, and with a bubblegum punkette in tow. Funny and unsettling.
Cast and crew
Gérard Brach, Roman Polanski
David Huddleston Boll Boyer Emmanuelle Seigner Harrison Ford Alexandra Stewart Robert Barr Betty Buckley