While the film may not have pulled off what it was trying at the end, it's still a nifty little thriller.
Rapt is, if anything, a timely film. It’s been over three years since it was released in France (it came out in theatres stateside last year) but it feels more relevant today. With the demonization of corporations and CEOs thanks to the financial crisis and the resulting backlash from the public, Rapt makes the ballsy move of making a selfish, rich chairman of a corporation a sympathetic character. Luckily, Rapt exudes so much confidence from its tight pacing, excellent cast and smooth direction that the gamble ends up paying off.
Within the first 10 minutes we find out all we need to know about Stanislas Graff (Yvan Attal), the head of a corporation with a seemingly massive personal fortune as well. He goes about his work, has a meeting over lunch, meets a mistress at a swanky apartment he owns on the side, loses a large amount of money at a high-stakes poker game and goes home to his wife and children at their large decadent home. After seeing what amounts to a typical day for Graff, the next morning he’s kidnapped while driving to work by a group of masked men. The kidnappers cut off one of Graff’s fingers and attach it to a letter demanding 50 million Euros in exchange for his life.
Of course it all sounds like a standard kidnapping thriller until things begin to go awry. Graff’s kidnapping becomes a major story on the news and, as the tabloids become dominated by the discovery of his multiple mistresses and gambling debts, the tide begins to turn against him. The board of directors at his job suddenly become hesitant about putting any money towards the ransom and his family finds out that their fortune is worth a lot less than they thought which only adds more stress on Graff’s wife (Anne Consigny), looking like she could fit into a Hitchcock film easily). The capture goes on for weeks and eventually it looks like if Graff is ever released he’d be the only person happy about it.
Lucas Belvaux directs Rapt with a strong level of assurance, making its 2 hour runtime zip by as we see more and more failed attempts at releasing Graff from captivity. Yvan Attal shines mostly in the final act as a once powerful man clinging on to what he had, but makes sure that his selfish behaviour that made up the opening still shines through even after everything he’s endured. Belvaux writes his characters in shades of greys, and his cast is smart enough to play on that moral ambiguity as much as possible.
While the film may not have pulled off what it was trying at the end (going into more details would require some major plot points being revealed) Rapt is still a nifty little thriller that’s reminiscent of the type of thrillers we’d see from the 1970s.