Cannily cast in the role of an American everyman, Harrison drops his matinee action hero persona and effortlessly slides into the Vertigo-like spiral of anxiety and internalised panic that James Stewart rendered so effectively in Hitchcock’s psychological thriller from 1958. Polanski amplifies Walker’s alienation by setting his film in a strangely un-tourist-friendly Parisian capital populated by peripheral characters that are politely indifferent to if not altogether visibly irritated by Walker’s helplessness. Seigner makes a terrific impression in her first film with Polanski (the two married in 1989 and have two children); her character’s unapologetic carnality the cause of visible consternation in a guilt-wracked Walker during a nightclub scene in which Seigner writhes suggestively to Grace Jones’ I’ve seen that face before while Walker does his level best not to displace his longing for his abducted wife onto the voluptuous Michelle.
12 Nov - 13 Nov
While attending a medical conference in Paris, Dr. Richard Walker (Harrison Ford) is understandably unnerved when his wife, Sondra (Betty Buckley) is seemingly abducted from their hotel room while he takes a shower. Hampered by his lack of French and prickly demeanour, Walker reluctantly latches onto a streetwise drug smuggler (Emmanuelle Seigner, in her English language debut) to infiltrate the seedy underbelly of the city in search of his wife.