Today: February 29, 2024

Disorder

The plot for Disorder feels like a host of Kevin Costner movies rolled into one. The concept of The Bodyguard slowly falling for his ward, the lavish world meets violence of Revenge and the mystery of No Way Out. But this isn’t a Kevin Costner movie and Disorder is not made with Hollywood and isn’t directed by a male director with macho posturing. Instead it is a delicate and intentionally lethargic character drama.

Vincent (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a former special forces Afghanistan veteran suffering with post traumatic stress disorder. Realising he’s unlikely to be able to serve in the military again he takes a security job protecting Jessie (Diane Kruger), the wife of an international arms dealer. What first seems an easy gig soon turns as Vincent’s paranoia starts to creep in and the arms dealer’s history catches up to them.

For those looking for full-blooded action Disorder is not going to cut it. It is much more akin to a delicate, almost voyeuristic, drama. The film is seen through Vincent’s eyes as he finds himself seeped in an opulent world of riches. When he encounters Jessie his gaze never fails to linger on her, often drinking her in small detail by small detail.

Writer director Alice Winocour is having quite the year between Disorder and also writing the gorgeous Mustang. What is fascinating about Winocour’s work is the way she depicts the sexual divide and the roles men and women play. In Disorder Vincent is the strong silent type often admiring Jessie. But Jessie refuses to be the damsel in distress, happy to stand up to him, not just as his superior’s wife but on a personal level.

The action is infrequent but when it hits it really hits. Winocour never pulling her punches in the violence stakes. For the most part her camera glides around, letting Vincent bask in the world around him, in between his bouts of headaches. But when the action kicks in there is a kinetic energy that never pulls its punches.

In the supporting role Kruger demonstrates once again that she is much more at home in French speaking dramas than her no doubt higher paying Hollywood fare. As Jessie she brings a wonderful blend of maternal grace mixed with just the occasional hint of romantic flirt. It’s sparing and often only implied but it’s unquestionably there. Schoenaerts meanwhile continues to show why he is one of this generation’s most under-used but interesting actors. His hulking frame belies Vincent’s issues. On the outside he’s invincible but, thanks to Winocour’s delicate script and deft direction, he is able to always show the damaged soul within.

At times a little disjointed Disorder is nonetheless a fascinating character fuelled drama that marks Winocour out as a filmmaker of vast talent and huge potential.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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