Rapt Review

The Film

We're all in it together! That's the message the current UK government gives us about the recession we are experiencing. It's a reassuring, and nonsensical, thought that the cabinet with the highest number of millionaires in history are facing the same fears of losing jobs, houses and families as the rest of us. As you may have guessed, I don't believe them and that might be money envy on my part but I think all of us find it hard to feel sorry for those who are significantly more economically shockproof than ourselves.
This strain of public opinion becomes a real problem for the industrialist played by Yvan Attal in Rapt. Once he is kidnapped, his wealth, his mistresses, his gambling and his lifestyle are displayed in public and opinion turns from sympathy towards vindictiveness. His ordeal is extended and worsened by other's envy, the lies of the media and the politics of the establishment. A life lived in public is bad enough, but one lived in captivity with the fear of execution hanging over him would test the soundest mind.

It is brave for Lucas Belvaux as the writer director to make such a film at such a time in all of our lives. It reminded me a lot of Kurosawa's modernist tales, films like The Bad Sleep Well and High and Low in the way it attempted to be humanist in exploring all the lives present here. The final scene leaves a conundrum, the sense of a new trap, a final indignity and an ambiguity about the future. How I read this was as a plea for understanding for the wealthy kidnappee robbed of his life and wealth. And I am not sure whether I felt sympathy or schadenfreude as the titles rolled.
Is Rapt bourgeois? Well yes as the only world we see is middle and upper class, the great unwashed are a mere presence and a vacuous repository for the lies of tabloids. For this reason, Rapt was unsatisfying despite good work from a talented cast, good dialogue and a well handled tension. It's accomplishments as a taut and involving thriller were slightly undone by a simplistic and slightly dull political understanding. If you are looking for analysis look elsewhere, if you are looking for a good hostage drama with unusual dynamics then you could be lucky.

Not at all predictable and well crafted, Rapt will please fans of French thrillers in the mode of The Serpent and Tell No One. Yvan Attal, who also starred in the former, plays harassed and arrogant with great skill and he is developing a real line in totemic victims. The supporting cast are equally competent and the intelligent pacing and strong narrative mean that all of the twists and turns happen sensibly and with enough space around them for the dramatic to be explored.
Rapt is a strong and interesting thriller.

Tech Specs

Rapt is released by Chlesea Films on a region free disc and given a heavily interlaced transfer which bears a degree of edge enhancement. Contrast is ok but a little uniform at times with some scenes seeming too dark and ungraded. Colours are well judged but not eye-poppingly strong and this is an average transfer which could have been easily improved upon.
Stereo and 5.1 French tracks are included along with optional, strong English subtitles. There is a fair amount of action on occasion so the sub-woofer and the surround channels do get a decent workout in the 5.1 mix which is definitely preferable to the other option. The soundtrack is well reproduced but not quite as clear as I would expect for such a modern film with a lack of definition in the high end of the treble particularly.


Trailers for other Chelsea Films releases are the sole extra inclusions. The menu bears the same interlaced artefacts as the transfer and is fairly rudimentary in the few options it offers.


An effective hostage drama given the modern context of recession politics. The transfer is underwhelming and the film is less clever than you may like, still it is solid and entertaining.

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