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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rapt Rides High
Rapt Review by Ghost Writer

I received the video this week. Unfortunately, I was unable to begin watching it until after 10 p.m. Fortunately, it was worth every minute of sleep I lost, and I found myself thinking about the movie the next day at work which is today. I decided to write the review while I am thinking about how much I enjoyed the movie.
The...
Published on December 9, 2011 by Ghost Writer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars ...in Plastic.
Rapt (Lucas Belvaux, 2009)

I loved--and I mean really, really loved--all the places that Rapt was going. Which makes it all the more depressing that it never got to any of them. Which is not to say that what we got is not a watchable, if bog-standard, thriller, but it occurred to me more than once while I was watching it that had Belvaux, who also wrote the...
Published 15 months ago by Robert Beveridge


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rapt Rides High, December 9, 2011
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This review is from: Rapt (DVD)
Rapt Review by Ghost Writer

I received the video this week. Unfortunately, I was unable to begin watching it until after 10 p.m. Fortunately, it was worth every minute of sleep I lost, and I found myself thinking about the movie the next day at work which is today. I decided to write the review while I am thinking about how much I enjoyed the movie.
The film is about a very successful Industrialist in France. He is married with two children and he has a domineering mother, and a faithful dog. He has just been invited to travel with the top politicians to discuss his success and help the President.
However, things change when he is kidnapped and held for ransom. He has to endure gruesome torture. The torture does not seem to be as bad as the secrets of his present and past.
It is a psychological thriller with tension right up to the very end of the film. The theme reminds the viewers of what is going on in America today with the rich and the not so rich. Showing how the rich squander their money on high living etc. while the poor continue to suffer.
The tension and stress of the movie increases with every minute of its run time. Watching his co-workers deal with the kidnapping, his family living with the situation, and of course, his agony dealing with the kidnappers.
We see how horrible the kidnappers can be, and then we see how he connects with one of the bad guys. The Stockholm Syndrome begins to enter into the situation as a conversation between hostage and kidnapper escalates. It is not very much Stockholm Syndrome, but it does rise a little above the surface.
Staying up late and reading the subtitles did not bother me in the least. I plan to view it again this weekend. Great performances, excellent plot, and relevant script make this a foreign film worth watching.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Original, Unpredictable, and Thoughtful Kidnapping Drama., December 23, 2011
This review is from: Rapt (DVD)
Written and directed by Lucas Belvaux, "Rapt" is an unusual kidnapping drama -thoughtful, original, and unpredictable. Although it is imbued with tension, this is not a thriller but a drama of one man's fear, of tables turned, of loss of control. Stanislas Graff (Yvan Attal) is a Parisian businessman, born into wealth, president of the company that bears his father's name. He has a pretty, resigned wife, Françoise (Anne Consigny), and a string of mistresses. He lives in luxury, takes exotic vacations, engages in forbidden recreations, which include high-stakes gambling. Leaving his office one day, Stan is kidnapped. He is held, terrified, by men who demand 50 million euros for his return. But Stan has squandered much of his fortune, and his family cannot raise more than 20 million. Françoise wants to pay, but the police inspector (Michel Voïta) on the case won't let her.

I hope that the French authorities do not actually deal with kidnappings this way. The police in the film care more about catching the kidnappers than getting the victim back alive. They repeatedly endanger Stan's life. This creates tension between the police and the family, including Stan's blunt and elegant mother (Françoise Fabian), the family's loyal lawyer Mr. Walser (Alex Descas), and the company's vice president and Stan's temporary replacement Mr. Peyrac (André Marcon). Meanwhile, the tabloid press has latched onto the story, and they are digging dirt, further compromising Stan's safety. There are multiple dynamics at play -between the kidnappers and their victim, the family and the police, and the relationship between Stan and wife Françoise that plays out indirectly, through intermediaries, over which neither person has any control.

This is smart writing. But "Rapt" doesn't stop there. Some may think the dialogue between Stan and his captor too allegorical, but it is in the aftermath of the crime that the strongest themes emerge. The structure is unpredictable, the ideas are provocative, and Yvan Attal is terrific. So is Françoise Fabian in her small but riveting role as his concerned, straight-talking mother. The dramatic arc is unlike any other kidnapping film. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had not seen this movie before in countless other guises. The DVD (Lorber 2011) lacks any meaningful bonus features, unfortunately. There is a gallery of 21 production stills and 5 theatrical trailers, including one for "Rapt". The film is in French with optional English subtitles.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who Dies?, February 5, 2012
This review is from: Rapt (DVD)
Other reviewers give a good synopsis of the story so I shall briefly outline those. We have a wealthy businessman, husband/father that is kidnapped for a sum that appears out of reach for his family and his employer, possible co-guarantor. As it turns out he's a bit of a self-serving, gambling, mistress supporting, SOB dog of a person so even though your sympathies lie with him though out most of the movie - doubts creep in.

Spoiler and super-spoiler (read after watching):
Right, so as you've seen he's let free by the captors because the ransom is not coming; he's told that he will have to pay the unimaginable sum upon receiving a forthcoming encoded message or his family dies. As we know, he's not too welcomed by family and business associates and those relationships appear to be becoming more distant. He does, however, display exorbitant attention upon his "faithful", non-judgemental dog. In the final scene, after receiving his encoded ransom message, he takes his dog and unlit cigar into the den, sits down and looks pensively upward as he ponders what happens if he doesn't pay. All problems solved, he'll have lots of money. He hasn't changed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Façades, January 31, 2012
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This review is from: Rapt (DVD)
RAPT is more an experience than a film. It is based on the true story of the 1978 kidnapping of French industrialist Edouard-Jean Empain, a millionaire playboy who is abducted and held for ransom for 60 days. Though it is a very fine thriller of the kidnapping/ransom genre this film is far more than that. It is an exploration of the lives of men of wealth who allow their moneyed status to be able to buy anything, behave in any way they wish, and trample lives of family and friends in the process. Is it a pretty picture to follow? No, certainly not, but it is a revealing fact that a crime of kidnapping can be secondary to a life of greed and consumption of power and money that feeds into lives such as the main character of this film and the governmental agencies to respond differently to these moneyed moguls.

Stanislaff Graff (Yvan Attal, in a mesmerizing role) is the wealthy industrialist married to the beautiful and wise Françoise (Anne Consigny), and also has a lover. He is kidnapped brutally from his limousine on the eve of his visit to China as part of the entourage of the French president. The kidnappers treat Graff cruelly, keeping him blindfolded and tied in a tiny tent in a dungeon of a basement: they demand a fifty million euro ransom. As an acct of proving their serious plot, they cut off one of his fingers. What follows is a terrifying sparring match between kidnappers, police and the board of the company of which Graff is the director. The main question for the board: is a human life worth more than fifty million euros? Will they be able to get that amount of money together in time anyway? While they decide this he degenerates physically and mentally in imprisonment. After sixty days Graff is released to a world now cognizant of his secret life of gambling and escapades and secret apartments that the press dredges up, revelations that are especially painful for his wife. Paying his ransom won't bury his secrets.

This film was written and directed by Lucas Belvaux who presents his story with more emphasis on subterfuge and the psychological aspects of the affair that may make the film seem slow moving (125 minutes) but at film's end we realize that the true crime is not so much that of the kidnap/ransom but the abuse of power and money when so many in the world are suffering from homelessness and hunger and foreclosures etc. The drama is significantly heightened by the work of cinematographer Pierre Milon and the moody musical score by Riccardo Del Fra. This is a demanding film but an important one, and the acting of everyone in the large cast is on the highest level - especially the stunning performances by Yvan Attal and Anne Consigny. Grady Harp, January 12
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If You're Like This Guy, Take Out Some K&R Insurance, December 18, 2011
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This review is from: Rapt [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
NOTE: This customer review contains "spoilers." That said, in my opinion a movie this good won't be ruined by "spoilers," because it is not primarily about "what happens next," but rather about the characters who inhabit it and how an extreme situation brings out who they are.

The "normal" life of Stanislas Graff (Yvan Attal) is revealed to us in such a quick succession of fragments, we don't have much of a chance to judge him as a person: luncheon meeting of his company's Board (Graff is the Chairman), quick exit to visit his mistress, home in the embrace of wife and daughters, losing 50K Euro at cards, heading off on a foreign delegation, and then kidnapped.

Minus the first few minutes, he spends about 1 1/2 hours of the movie blindfolded, only to be let up briefly for feeding and torture. It made me wonder why they were wasting such a great actor as Attal in a part where he was almost mute and his face was mostly hidden.

For that 90 minutes (and arguably beyond), the center of the film is Anne Consigny, memorable from a few other parts, but never better than here as Graff's wife, Françoise. She immediately agrees to pay the ransom, but is opposed by the company which her husband heads. There is a power struggle within the company. There is a turf struggle between Françoise, the cops and Graff's company. Without the well-written-and-acted part of Françoise, this would be the stuff of a boilerplate thriller.

Not since the prime of Sandrine Bonnaire have I seen an actress as riveting as Anne Consigny. The usual "wife fretting at home" part is dispensed with. Françoise learns just how badly her husband's lifestyle has damaged their personal finances. She has to confront the sight of the unmade bed in the apartment she learns her husband has kept a secret for 15 years. She endures the shrugging attitude toward playboy husbands as it is voiced by her mother-in-law (Françoise Fabien).

Then, through means I'll leave you to discover for yourself, Stanislas makes it home. He (but not the viewer) is surprised at the lack of concern shown to him on his return. He watches his home life, his work life and his reputation unravel. We get a fuller picture of what a complete douche he is. Then, he slumps into a chair. The End. It's an ending not quite as enigmatic as that of CACHE, but close enough. Like that (or any Haneke film), there are many questions unanswered at the end. We never know who engineered the kidnapping. And we are spared the probably deadly results of Stanislas's final gesture of resignation.

(4.5 stars. I dinged the movie half-a-star for a terrible score that did nothing but call attention to itself. No music at all would have been better, and luckily there are fairly long stretches without intrusive music cues.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, tense and well-made, March 21, 2012
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This review is from: Rapt [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
A kidnapping thriller that has a dark noir side, as well as an interesting look at wealth, politics and morality.
Throw in a complex family drama and a deeply flawed main character, and you have a familiar situation
raised into a well above average film.

Visually sharp, suffused with an intense energy, even in the quiet scenes, the kidnapping of super wealthy
industrialist Stanislas Graff opens a Pandora's box of questions about the man's lifestyle; his mistresses,
his gambling debts, that leave his powerful `friends' backing away from their desire to pay to get the man
back, and makes his steadfast wife question the complacency with which she has accepted how things are.

The film makes the very dark point that the kidnappers, while awful and terrifying, in some ways are more
honest, direct and even human than the upper-class .1% of the world that Stanislas is usually surrounded by,
and is part of himself.

There are weaknesses. Some of it gets repetitive, and the ending is intentionally telegraphed (why?) and not
very satisfying or thought provoking. Also, in attempting to deal with so many themes, ideas and story threads
(cops, the business people, lawyers, the family, the kidnap victim, the kidnappers, etc) there isn't much of a
chance to really dig beneath the surface of all these very intriguing characters and ideas. Stanislas' daughters,
for example, are pretty much ciphers.

But this is still a very worthwhile trip into unsettled, disturbing and questioning darkness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The French do genre films very well--but don't expect this to be one of them., December 5, 2012
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Years ago in Sunday school I would often hear, as one of those folk-theodicies that crop up all the time in Sunday schools, that suffering can be seen to have a divine purpose if it is correctly contextualized. It is actually a refiner's fire, purifying those lucky enough to have God apply it to them, since by its application God melts out of us the dross of egotism and the illusions of power and control that we, in our ignorance and feeblenes tend to cultivate in the absence of pain, and teaches us empathy, since it is self-evident that all sufferers are brothers, whatever else divides them.

Thinking about it later, I decided that this scenario overlooked other possibilities. Those who have suffered could learn bitterness intead of compassion, I thought, becoming in the process more, not less self-absorbed. Or they might come to feel, even without actual bitterness, that since they had suffered and survived (or not, in which case nothing at all is learned), others would no doubt have the same experience: suffering really doesn't matter much in the long run--especially that of somebody else.

"Rapt" brought these old reflections back to mind--the result was that the film came, toward the end, to seem comfortably familiar to me, despite the fact that I had been wondering during most of its length just what was on its mind, as it were. It isn't, as has been pointed out, really a thriller, despite the fact that it's about a brutal crime. It isn't a police procedural, despite the fact that much time is spent on the police response to it.

None of the emotional responses that we've been prepared by the genres of "crime film" to feel are called upon here--I wondered for awhile if the kidnap victim was to be seen as one of those powerless trapped-by-fate types familiar from film noir, despite his having millions. But no: our guy isn't just ground up in the gears of things. "Rapt" ends up being in effect a character study, showing how suffering and the complete loss of control affects one accustomed to power. It seems to me a) quite plausible for the reasons I outlined above, and b) maybe a little bit infected by a propaganda motive in a political moment in which we of the "99%" are feeling a little self-righteous.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific thriller, November 19, 2012
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You're not quite ready for just how exciting this movie becomes. A slowish beginning all of a sudden accelerates rapidly and you then find yourself saying 'wow, this is pretty good'. The ending seems ever so slightly rushed, but even so the surprises still keep coming.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Human Greed and Ego, March 12, 2012
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This French movie (eng. subtitles) is based on a true story. The movie is two hours long, and just about the time I think this is good but wheres all the action...it dawns me....the action is already there. The action is the story told of peoples lives, the reality and the perception that we give off or the press. It also raises so many moral horrors on so many notes from victim to vindicated. It really makes you understand at some point while we are living our lives we will have to answer for everything we do. Perhapes not on the same scale as the kidnapped victim but we all will be held accountable someday. Also never forgetting everyone answers to someone. By the time this movie was almost over I no longer felt sympathy for anyone and it left me thinking......I better re-think some things in my own life! PK enjoy
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4.0 out of 5 stars Psychological thriller about morality, January 6, 2014
This review is from: Rapt (DVD)
Stanislas Graff (Yvan Attal) is a powerful executive kidnapped and held for ransom. His family and colleagues attempt to produce the money to free Stanislas, but are unsuccessful and Stanislas remains in captivity for two months. Despite the involvement of professional criminals and police officers, the central action of the film takes place in the minds of the characters rather than empty threats or gun-waving (although the movie does have violence); the classic kidnapping scenario collides with questions of morality and perspective.

By being taken hostage, Stanislas's life is placed under the microscope of media and public judgment. It is discovered he is both a gambler and serial adulterer, and for many, this makes him an unsympathetic victim. How his family reacts, how you, the viewer, reacts, is what makes this film interesting to watch (especially with a friend or two). In the end, you will have to decide how important soft moral failures are and what obligations we have to one another, whether we are married or strangers.

The film is also wonderfully acted with an appropriately sparse score. Great, little French film.
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Rapt
Rapt by Lucas Belvaux (DVD - 2011)
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