American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Here is a millionaire industrialist who has inherited control of the family company. Stanislas Graff is well-married and well-respected. He maintains a secret life with a love nest populated with mistresses who are no doubt well-paid. We meet him in mid-stride at the dawn of another day of playing a master of the universe.
Then Stanislas Graff is kidnapped. That wasn't in the plan. It's an efficient operation. Graff (Yvan Attal) is pulled from his car, blindfolded and held chained and captive in a cold, dark room of an abandoned factory, where he will never be found by accident. Enormous ransom demands are made.
Our sympathies are with him. Then the police start sniffing around rumors that he was a big loser in private poker games. The press finds out about the mistresses. Weeks pass. His wife (Anne Consigny) and daughters are humiliated by news of his infidelities. There isn't nearly as much money in his bank account as they would have expected. The kidnappers grow impatient.
"Rapt," written and directed by Lucas Belvaux, is based on a real-life case, but the industrialist could probably have been inspired by many men. I thought first of all of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. To be sure, all charges have been dropped against him, but his alleged behavior seemed consistent with his reputation, and aren't many of us rather persuaded that something wrong happened in the hotel room? Berlusconi is another exhibit.