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Movie review: There's a kidnapping, and secrets revealed in 'Rapt'

Well-acted and procedurally sleek, the film fuses strands of dramatic tension in a shrewd enough way that it even saves its sharpest cuts for the kidnapping's aftermath.

August 12, 2011|By Robert Abele
  • Yvan Attal stars in the movie "Rapt."
Yvan Attal stars in the movie "Rapt." (Lorber Films )

Issues of criminality, responsibility and victimhood get a muscular workout in Lucas Belvaux's taut French thriller "Rapt," based on a true story of the 1978 kidnapping of a rich industrialist.

When wealthy, arrogant business scion Stanislas Graff (Yvan Attal) is grabbed by a crack team of abductors who ask for 50 million Euros in ransom and send his severed finger as proof of their seriousness, the subsequent investigation — by authorities, his business partners and a rabid press corps — reveals an unflattering portrait of Graff's personal indiscretions (gambling, affairs) and professional acumen.

Suddenly a nail-biting, emotionally charged captivity policier — reminiscent of Kurosawa's crisp handling of the mechanics of ransom negotiation in "High and Low" — takes on a well-tailored political-economic-privacy dimension. Without forcing it, Belvaux juxtaposes the unquestionable cruelty of holding anyone against their will with the cold, socially accepted tactics of the boardroom, where a corporation's threatened health may get precedence over that of a brutalized if unlikable individual.

Well-acted (by Attal notably, but also by Anne Consigny, as Graff's worried-yet-disgusted wife) and procedurally sleek, "Rapt" fuses strands of dramatic tension in a shrewd enough way that it even saves its sharpest cuts for the kidnapping's aftermath, when a well-heeled life laid bare must reconcile with a much different form of enforced solitude.


"Rapt." No MPAA rating. Running time: 2 hours, 1 minute. At Laemmle's Music Hall 3, Beverly Hills. minutes. At the Nuart, West Los Angeles.

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