A doctor and his wife go to Paris for a medical conference. While showering, his wife disappears. His lack of language, and the odd way she disappeared makes it nearly impossible for him to find any official help in his search as he enters the punk/drug culture to find out what has happened to her.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This movie should be renamed "Paris I spent a week there one night"
I've seen this movie about 4 or 5 times, and I like it every time I see it. I wish there were more movies like it. It's probably at its best the first time you see it, since you don't really know where all the twists and turns are going to lead. But even after the plot is revealed to you, heck, go see it again. It's still an enjoyable, stylish romp through the seamier side of Paris it vicariously allows you to take a vacation trip to Paris that you hope and pray you never WILL have to take.
Although I'm always charmed and impressed by Harrison Ford's strong performance in this film, I sometimes wonder, is it perhaps not entirely believable? I mean, after all, how would most guys *really* react if their wife disappeared on them, shortly after arriving in Paris? Well, this being Paris... whoopee! They'd probably go out on the town for about three nights of wild debauchery. Then, in a state of drunken stupor, but slowly coming to their senses, they'd find the nearest police station, and would announce to the gendarme (with a stupid grin and a champagne/cognac scented belch): "Like, dude, I lost my wife!"
Oh but wait a minute... I've got this all wrong. As Harrison Ford's character, Dr. Walker, says in the movie, in responding to just this sort of mentality: "I'm talking about my wife here. YOU are obviously thinking about your OWN wife."
I love that line, and it's a line that, I think more than anything, sets the character of this film. It's what makes this a very passionate story about a man who's lost his wife in a big, foreign city, and who finds himself extremely agitated about how everybody he meets is so indifferent to his plight. (And it's not just the French. The American Embassy staffers here aren't exactly shining beacons of official solicitude either.)
The only thing in the movie that "majorly" doesn't work for me is the rooftop scene. Dr. Walker proceeds for about 2 or 3 minutes to create a hellacious clatter on the roof (nearly snapping off one of those big old TV aerials in the process), while down below, the two "goons" who are grilling Michelle don't even seem to notice or hear a thing. And yet a few minutes later, with Dr. Walker successfully having slipped into the apartment well, just the slightest little noise from him in the other room, and it's enough to bring the goons running to investigate. Anyway, nice use of a teddy bear. Most original!
Only one thing that "kinda" doesn't work for me is the English diction and syntax of Michelle. Her English is too good, in the sense that it doesn't match her thick French accent. She should have had more "clumsy" lines written for her, i.e. more of a Pidgin English. But anyway, I sure like Michelle. Nice looking girl. Long legs, nice shoes. And no hairy armpits. You can teach me French ANY day, honey.
Finally, I like the song "Strange" by Grace Jones. (Plus, just watching Harrison Ford's character clumsily trying to dance to this music with the too-cool-for-words Michelle is worth the rental price - it's a memorable scene!) Even after multiple viewings the song still gives me goose bumps. The music has a certain haunting emotive force to it. It invokes a wonderful European ambience; more to the point, I think it ideally captures a Parisian feel that only certain music can express. It very much reminds me of the song "Puro Teatro" by La Lupe, which plays at the tail end of "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" while the credits are rolling. Wonderful stuff! Man I love it in movies when they play the right music at the right time. And I'm sure most of you would agree that in many films this isn't always the case.
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