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Nominated for four Cesar Awards (including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor), Lucas Belvaux's edge-of-your-seat thriller - inspired by the 1978 kidnapping of French industrialist Edouard-Jean Empain - features a career-defining performance by Yvan Attal (Munich, Rush Hour 3) as a millionaire playboy who is abducted and held for ransom for 60 days.
An explosive package. Riveting to the end. --Variety
Four stars. A finely mounted thriller! --Time Out (London)
Top customer reviews
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.
I read the 4 and 5 star reviews for this film and decided to buy it.
They were wrong. This is not a "thriller". It is a slow paced drama, that does not have a payoff at the end.
First, you have absolutely no sympathy for the guy that is kidnapped. He's a jerk from start to finish. There is no character arc where he turns the tables on his kidnappers, and becomes a real man. He is pathetic. An example: The kidnappers return him to his wife and daughters, and the first person he wants to see is his dog.
Second, through a random chit-chat with one of the kidnappers he reveals that he has hunted big game, and very adept with pistols. This point is never followed up on in the film. You expect him to grab a gun and kill the bad guys, or hunt them down after he is released. No, he returns to his weenie ways.
Third, have the French police never heard of forensics? Ransom notes are opened without gloves and the paper is not tested for finger prints, or the glue seal for DNA, nor do they seem to have street cameras on the person who delivered the note. Also, this kidnapping (owing to this guy's connection with the French President) would be considered a terrorist act (until proven otherwise) and French Intelligence would have taken over the case. In the film it is the Paris Police that do all of the botched investigating. One botched example: The ransom is to be delivered to a resort beach. On the beach are at least a dozen (obvious) undercover Paris police. Of course, the kidnappers see this and cancel the pick up.
I stayed with the film to the very end, hoping it would get better. I believed the other reviewers. Never again.
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