500 Days Of Film Reviews Disorder And Finds A Tense Thriller About Truth And Paranoia
Special services soldier, Vincent (Matthias Schoenerts), is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
With his career in the balance, Vincent takes a job as a security guard. He is tasked with protecting the family of Imad Whalid (Percy Kemp), a man with extremely shady political connections.
When Whalid leaves his plush villa in the South Of France on business, Vincent moves in to protect Whalid’s wife Jessie (an underutilised Diane Kruger) and their son Ali.
Vincent is convinced that they are in terrible danger. However, given his condition, can he be trusted?
Is It Any Good?
I watched Disorder as part of Odeon's Screen Unseen screenings.
Odeon had hinted that it was going to try something new (and that we, the audience, should keep an open mind) and I really commend it for screening a foreign language film.
It would be lovely to think that this is the start of a wider, more accessible distribution of world cinema. Fingers crossed.
Of all the Screen Unseen films that I have seen, Disorder has certainly proved the most divisive. Some people loved it, some thought it pretty dull. Me? I’m actually somewhere in the middle.
So, let's start with the good stuff.
Disorder has an interesting premise. Vincent is suffering from PTSD, he experiences hallucinations and his hearing is impaired. His belief that Jessie and Ali are in danger could be real or it could be a part of his disorder.
Director, Alice Winocour, is fascinated by this concept - and she plays with it throughout the first half of Disorder. We only see the world through Vincent’s eyes - we only hear what he can hear, we only see what he can see. As a result, we too start to feel paranoid.
Matthias Schoenerts is utterly convincing as Vincent. His performance is powerful, tense and unpredictable. Having been unsure of his performance (in Far From The Madding Crowd), it was good to see Schoenerts on form here.
Disorder's tension and disorientating atmosphere is further emphasised by Winocour’s use of shaky camera effects, slow motion and image blurring. Indeed, this is a film that plays with all of our senses.
Disorder’s score is particularly superb. The music is intense, the sound jarring and unsettling.
Winocour knew how important sound would be in her film. She used a specialist sound design team and the techno music of Gesaffelstein to create sound effects infused with fear and dread.
Sadly, midway through Disorder, the interesting themes of paranoia and reality weaken. From then on, the film becomes a pretty standard quiet, quiet bang thriller - don’t get me wrong, it gets your pulse racing but it no longer feels as compelling.
Holed up in a villa that now feels like a prison, Vincent has to protect Jessie and Ali from a host of baddies. Strange noises are heard, storms rumble in, and shadowy figures are seen.
And, oh my, where is the dog… of all the characters in this film, that’s the one I cared about the most? I am not sure this is a good thing. The trouble is, Jessie and Ali are not developed sufficiently to become real and likeable (plus they are mightily ungrateful, given the circumstances).
As Disorder heads to its climax, events become pretty brutal. Matthias Schoenerts is, again, eminently convincing - he can certainly handle himself. However, while I felt the tension and the potential for another jump scare, I didn't truly feel invested.
Disorder ends with a moment designed to get audiences talking. Hallucination or reality? Real or imagined? Winocour leaves it up to the audience to decide and, while I know what I think, so will I.
Disorder has also been released under the name of Maryland - the name of the Whalid and Jessie's villa in the South Of France.
That coffee table sure is sturdy...
Odeon definitely keep their Screen Unseen audience hanging on for that BBFC certificate.
Hardly any early walkouts this time! Some people did leave half way through - as is their right (so long as they are quiet about it).
This is director Alice Winocour’s second feature film. She is definitely a director to watch out for in tthe future.
Disorder will be released in the UK on 25 March.
Have you seen Disorder? If you have, I would love to know what you thought of this movie.
Meanwhile, would you like to see more foreign language movies at your local cinema?
Let me know your thoughts - you can leave me a comment in the box below...