DIR: Kirk Jones • WRI: Alice Winocour, Jean-Stéphane Bron • PRO: Emilie Tisné • DOP: Georges Lechaptois • ED: Julien Lacheray • DES: Samuel Deshors • MUS: Mike Lévy • CAST: Matthias Schoenaerts, Diane Kruger, Paul Hamy
Writer-director Alice Winocour returns with a sleek, though slow-burning thriller. As tense as a finely tuned piano wire, Disorder is an exploration of paranoia that builds slowly but surely, before eventually escalating into a full-blown house invasion survival story. Vincent (Schoenaerts) is an ex-soldier freelancing as a private bodyguard for a wealthy (if morally unsound) Lebanese businessman and his wife, Jessie (Kruger). Still suffering from both the physical and mental scars gained during his deployment, Vincent struggles to maintain control of himself and the reality he may or may not actually be experiencing.
This is a film that requires patience. The first half moves glacially and the audience is only offered brief glimpses into what is potentially to come. As with most films of this genre, it is never quite clear as to what exactly is really happening or what Vincent merely perceives to happening in his unbalanced mind. As such, it’s difficult to gauge what the audience should take at face value and how one can engage with the film. Almost like a sculpture, depending on what angle the viewer chooses to see the film from, they will have an entirely different experience to their fellow audience members. The tension, however, is real, namely due to Winocour’s deft directing and Schoenaerts’ captivating performance. Though narratively the film errs on the side of patchy (and relies far too much on the soundtrack to convey what the visual should), Schoenaerts skilfully manages to balance Vincent’s vulnerability with his animal-like ferociousness, making for an interesting character study. Diane Kruger is sadly underused, reduced to not much more than a damsel in distress by the film’s third act, but still has a presence on screen that elevates her character from being completely one-dimensional.
Overall, Wincocour’s newest offering is a film that on paper has a lot to offer, but on screen- not so much. The film’s biggest assets are its consistently tense atmosphere and strong performances from its lead actors. The film’s biggest drawback is that it asks its audience to give a lot, but does little to reward them. But, if you’re a Schoenaerts fan, his performance is worth the price of admission alone.
15A (See IFCO for details)
Disorder is released 25th March 2016