Based on the 1978 kidnapping of wealthy French industrialist Baron Empain, 'Rapt' tells the story of Stanislas Graff (Attal), head of an industrial conglomerate and an adviser to the French President. On the eve of a trip to China, he is kidnapped from his limousine in a street hold-up (which could have done with a bit more force and brutality). The captors demand €50m for his release, sending his family gruesome evidence that they mean business.

While the kidnappers play a high stakes game of cat and mouse with the police, the board of Graff's company evaluate his true worth to them. When it is revealed that Graff is not the dedicated family man he portrays to the public, and is instead an adulterous gambler with substantial debts, a media frenzy ensues. Support for Graff falls away and his future starts to look gloomy, even if he is freed from the underground room where he is chained and constantly threatened.

By trying to be a thriller, drama, action and meaning-of-life movie 'Rapt' misses the mark on all counts. What could have been the film's strength, but feels more like its weakness, is that it lacks emotion. Almost every character is heartless and calculating, which makes it difficult to really identify with anyone in particular. This is more a study of the hubris of the rich and powerful than an edge-of-the-seat experience. And the moral message - that people with power and where money reigns supreme only worry or feel empathy for others if it's in their best interest - is hammered home monotonously.

'Rapt' has some moments of greatness, like when we witness Graff degenerate physically and mentally and then realise the error of his ways. But they are followed by lengthy periods of dullness and chopping 20 minutes of the plot would have been greatly appreciated. Unlike 'Ransom' or 'Inside Man', it lacks the fast pace and clever scriptwriting that is necessary to excite audiences, and a brain-boggling twist sends the picture south into fantasy-land.

Laura Delaney