The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq

Director: Guillaume Nicloux
Year Released: 2014
Rating: 2.0

Controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq (played by himself) is taken out of his apartment by three inexperienced kidnappers and held for ransom ... and while being held they feed him, give him wine, light his cigarettes, ask him about books and culture and even hire a local prostitute (Fatima!) for him. More or less an in-joke - after a period of silence the media speculated Houellebecq was kidnapped (he wasn't) - that strips the traditional drama associated with kidnapping and ... well, turns it into a rather docile affair: the kidnappers don't beat him, there's limited yelling and the camera is trained on frail, hunched, gaunt Houellebecq as he awkwardly puffs on his Philip Morris smokes and drinks more than a little red wine or whiskey and searches for answers to the questions posed to him. For a team of non-actors the cast does quite well - particularly Houellebecq, contributing to his own mythos - though the particulars (why kidnap him in the first place? who paid the ransom? how does no one get arrested?) are rendered irrelevant.