Disorder

 

starstarstar

 

 

A suspenseful drama that contains some impressive acting but never achieves the 

significance for which it appears to strive.


Disorder

Matthias Schoenaerts (right), with Diane Kruger

 

The Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts has quickly proved his worth moving on from local work (2011’s Bullhead etc.) to English language performances in such recent films as Suite Française, A Little Chaos, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Danish Girl and Luca Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash. In this drama from Alice Winocour set in the south of France, it is his performance which provides the film with an anchor: he holds it all together and gives real strength to the piece. The other players give him able support, but nothing can hide the fact that this is a small film that tries to suggest that it is more than it is.

 

Schoenaerts plays a soldier, Vincent Loreau, back from Afghanistan and suffering from post-traumatic stress. He nevertheless hopes to return there, but meanwhile he becomes part of a team supplying security for Lebanese businessman, Imad Whalid, his wife, Jessie, and their young son Ali. When Whalid leaves on business, Vincent is selected to stay on for two more days to protect Jessie and Ali. Winocour’s attempt to inflate this material takes two forms. First, she uses an extraordinary score by Gesaffelstein to build up tension, but this comes to feel like a cheat when more often than not nothing dramatic follows. Secondly, television broadcasts keep stressing Iran, Syria and Islamic State as though Disorder is dealing with major issues of the day.

 

In point of fact, this is just a thriller which, as signalled by its title, eventually asks us to decide if the threat to Jessie and Ali that emerges is the real thing or if it is all in Vincent’s mind due to PTSD. When Winocour pushes less hard, she can be effective, but the final outcome is so ambiguous that at the screening I attended critics were left offering conflicting descriptions of what happened in the closing minutes. That limits the film’s appeal as popular drama, I think, but no one who sees Disorder is likely to come away unimpressed by Schoenaerts.

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Diane Kruger, Paul Hamy, Percy Kemp, Zaid Errougui-Demonsant.

 

Dir Alice Winocour, Pro Isabelle Madelaine and Émilie Tisné, Screenplay Winocour with Jean-Stéphane Bron, Ph George Lechaptois, Pro Des Samuel Deshors, Ed Julien Lacheray, Music Gesaffelstein, Costumes Pascaline Chavanne.

 

Dharamsala/Darius Films/Mars Films/ France 3 Cinéma/Scope Pictures etc.-Soda Pictures.
98 mins. France/Belgium. 2015. Rel: 25 March 2015. Cert. 15.