“Rapt”: An icy-cool French kidnapping thriller

This sardonic fable about a kidnapped tycoon has gorgeous French stars and Hitchcockian twists

Topics: Quick Takes, Belgium, France, Our Picks, Movies, Thrillers,

"Rapt": An icy-cool French kidnapping thrillerA still from "Rapt"

Arguably, the arty little movie I should be covering this week is French auteur Catherine Breillat’s “Sleeping Beauty,” her latest mannered, crypto-erotic retake on a classic fairy tale (after the 2009 “Bluebeard”). So let me give that a shout-out — it opens this week in New York — while confessing that it’s summer and we might all have a better time at a different French-language film, the cool and ingenious thriller “Rapt.” Using a real-life 1970s celebrity kidnapping as his raw material, Belgian actor-director Lucas Belvaux (best known for his 2002 “Trilogy,” three films with interlocking stories and characters) weaves a Hitchcockian fable around the kidnapping of fictional tycoon Stanislas Graff (suave French star Yvan Attal).

Graff’s ice-blond “good wife,” Françoise (Anne Consigny, in a classic Grace Kelly part), is in many respects the central character of “Rapt,” and the principal victim of the kidnapping. She is forced to deal with the police, who suspect the whole thing may be a setup; plead with Stanislas’ company’s reluctant board for an enormous ransom payment; face the increasing resentment of their children (who think she’s not doing enough to bring Papa home); and confront the press, which sees an opportunity to peel away her family’s implacable veneer of wealth and privilege. Indeed, as the secrets about Stanislas’ multiple mistresses and gambling debts pour out — for one thing, he isn’t nearly as wealthy as everyone assumed — Françoise has to deal with the fact that her luxurious existence has been built on lies and criminality, which she herself has helped perpetrate.

Belvaux’s pace may seem leisurely by Hollywood-thriller standards, and he strikes a sardonic, quasi-Marxist tone that doesn’t exactly leave you with sympathetic characters to root for. But “Rapt” is both a compelling character study and a handsomely mounted procedural, at various times suggesting Hitchcock, his French acolyte Claude Chabrol, the sadistic TV series “24″ and the action movies of Michael Mann. Attal and Consigny are absolutely terrific as a couple who are on the most obvious level ruined by their ordeal, but who on another level finally become human beings, after spending their entire adult lives performing the roles of people who are rich and happy and free.

“Rapt” is now playing at Film Forum in New York and the New Orleans Film Society. It opens July 22 in San Francisco and Aug. 26 in Chicago. Check  website for more cities and dates.


More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>