11 February 2013 | nesfilmreviews
A kidnapping reveals a man they thought they knew.
Stanislas Graff (Yvan Attal) is a man of importance, he's a powerful industrialist who meets with world leaders. After breakfast with his wife Françoise (Anne Consigny) and teenaged daughters, Stan is kidnapped on his way to work in broad daylight, and his misfortune holds him, his family, and his business--"Rapt." Belgian writer/director Lucas Belvaux latest isn't the typical thriller one might expect. Stan may occupy and move in elevated social circles, but when he's snatched from his everyday life, those who interact with him every day find that they didn't really know him at all. Business and personal relationships shift and slide and when Stan finally comes home--a shell of his former self, the old adage about dog being man's best friend is proved once again. All these shifting loyalties are what make "Rapt" so compelling. After his high-profile kidnapping, the media uncovers his playboy lifestyle--and his wife, Françoise Graff is shown the apartment where he met his girls on the side. There's an acknowledgement that she knew something of this before, but being the wife of such a man, she couldn't bring herself to do anything about it, at least not while the money was still good, Something the film implies in one of its only attempts to understand the workings and motivations of its characters. Françoise discovers that the board of trusties would only provide the ransom money as a loan, and discovers her family is far less wealthy than she thought. The Graff girls Véronique (Sarah Messens) and Martine (Julie Kaye), are devastated to discover who their father really is, just as any common man, by watching the news reading the papers. The damage being done, besides a chopped-off finger--is to Stanislas's public and private image, which in turn begins to quietly dampen the family's eagerness to have him returned. Stan is eventually transferred to Le Marseillais (Gérard Meylan), who provides better living conditions, but nonetheless he is still a prisoner. Graff is reminded that he's no longer front page news--and after yet another money transfer is botched, he is told that he'll either be killed or freed. The kidnappers' ultimate decision is a whopper, but Stan has a series of shocks ahead. "Rapt" is a work of dexterous, subtle intelligence. Don't expect an action film and its psychological character portraits. It's a well-made thriller--with its leisurely pace and total lack of gratuitous sex and violence. It seems well-suited for those film-goers with a more modest sensibility who prefer refinement, as opposed to common American movie traits of speed and savagery. While it doesn't really say much about men such as Stanislas, what happens in its last reel suggests a realness to his unemotional side--unapologetic for his gambling and cheating despite any lessons the ordeal might have offered about the collateral damage inflicted upon those who are closest to him. There is a lack of a bond, or relationship with Stan, his family, and the audience. It's hard to feel sympathy for the protagonist. despite his situation, because he's not a likable person. What Stanislas's attitude seems to ultimately say is that he acted the way he did simply because his position in life allowed him to. His only regret is having been caught.