Director: Alice Winocour
Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Diane Kruger, Paul Hamy, Zaïd Errougui-Demonsant, Percy Kemp, Victor Pontecorvo
Running time: 94 mins
Release Date & Availability: Out now on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download
Director-writer Alice Winocour has delivered a smooth, tense thriller, fermenting with unwavering tension and trepidation. DISORDER boasts outstanding performances, particularly with Matthias Schoenaerts‘ superb delivery of a broken man – a paranoid ex-soldier – who also happens to be on the ball when it comes to suspecting some unseemly, deceitful undertakings are occurring putting a family he is protecting in grave danger…
DISORDER is one of those films where the dialogue is not necessarily needed to drive the story forward and reveal the plot; we see things clearly without it. From the outset, we can guess the plot and the audience is in no need of a narrative to guide us through – and this works brilliantly. We meet a soldier in training (although his mind is not fully functioning stably). We cut to his discussions of his recuperation and likelihood of returning to service (we sense there is no chance). We witness as paranoia consumes him and automatically Vincent (the aforementioned soldier) is a man battling his own inner war.
Due to his inability to shake off his experiences on the battlefield, he has found himself to be temporarily off duty, but he is always hoping he will return to service. In order to get by, he is forced to take on a job protecting the family of a Lebanese businessman: wife Jessie, played by Diane Kruger and her young son.
After fulfilling his rather joyless security role at a high society party, Schoenaerts’ Vincent picks up on a conspiracy in his boss’ mansion. Poring over security camera feeds and listening to ushered conversations, Vincent proves there is more to his ‘paranoia’ and PTSD than first springs to mind as he is given the chance to use his brutal combat skills to stave off intruders who are hell bent on kidnapping the family.
What Winocour and Schoenaerts have successfully created in the movie is a visceral experience for the audience. Is Vincent onto something here? Are they likely to be under attack? Are we being paranoid for thinking that he is in fact infiltrating information correctly and unprecedented violence is darkly looming ahead? Vincent’s suspicions are initially questionable and we’re never sure if he’s onto something or if his condition is affecting his judgment, but it is great to see the plot making us question ourselves too. Is he a hero? Is he a dangerous man on the verge of demise so great that he may end up doing something he will regret?
The first half is intriguing, disturbing and somewhat emotional as we see the soldier fight against PTSD and see his desperation to return to the one thing that has made him unwell to begin with. However, as we approach the final act, we see a very formulaic fight, which is somewhat predictable and the atmosphere has completely changed.
Matthias Schoenaerts has shown once more after superb performances in RUST AND BONE and BULLHEAD, that tortured physicality is his forte and in the role of a soldier struggling with PTSD, he’s comfortably commanding and totally convincing. His portrayal of playing a protagonist with post-combat conditioning is sublime – and utterly believable. After performances in high-profile roles such as FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, A LITTLE CHAOS and SUITE FRANÇAISE, it is great to see Schoenaerts step away from the romantic lead roles and remind people of his diversity and capabilities of playing more grittier roles too. We tip our hat off to him for this one.
Diane Kruger delivers her role well, but it feels like her character arc is slightly lacklustre in comparison and she really needed to be given something more substantial to play with, a script for her character with something more, anything more…
Overall, DISORDER is a genre-hopping movie; it starts out as a psychological drama concentrating on the side-effects of war on a certain individual before switching to more of a tense thriller. It feels psychologically perspicacious without the need for emotionally-wraught speeches to convey the inner turmoil of an individual, delivering a simmering ball of tension that is waiting to explode.
DISORDER is out now on Blu-ray and DVD by Soda Pictures.