Without question, this French drama/thriller looks especially sleek and is backed by some fascinatingly immersive music but it does take perhaps too long a time to kick into gear. Thankfully Matthias Schoenaerts is on hand with his capable knack of delving into mysterious and silently powerful roles.
Vincent (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a soldier not likely returning to the field of action due to suffering post traumatic stress disorder. He fills his time with odd jobs and thanks to a friend gets called up to be security for Jessie (Diane Kruger), the wife of an important businessman. As he gets closer to her, it becomes more dangerous when Jessie is targeted.
Alice Winocour’s directing certainly strikes the right chords in building palpable tension. The whole time we never know what or who may be around the corner. It’s not quite a masterpiece in rattling our bones but it comes extraordinarily close as we see Jessie’s luxury villa become a hunting ground of shadows and off-screen noise. The repeated use of seeing shots through the surveillance cameras also helps bring us into the world of the film and create a brooding paranoia as to what could be going on.
Brilliantly, this movie utilises on silence within character interaction to keep things as suspenseful as possible. The story itself by Winocour and Jean-Stephane Bron isn’t much more than having a guy protect and chauffeur a woman but there is a hushed background that makes the business of Jessie’s husband cause for concern and reason for why violence takes place. Having this almost lack of story helps in places because it means we can sweat it out amongst the moody tension but it does crumble with a more action-y home invasion final act.
Crucially I felt that ‘Disorder’ had me itching uncomfortably because for the first thirty minutes or so nothing much goes down. Sure it introduces characters and lays out the scene for where the film will take place but it isn’t until a beach date and consequent car moment that the true dangerous nature of this film’s atmosphere begins to take shape. Also the above mentioned utilisation of silence creates no connection between Vincent and Jessie leading to following scenes devoid of any possible passion or interest. Also the end is just…I don’t know. I seriously don’t know how to tackle that.
Saying that, the unreliability of Vincent’s actions as a character makes me think back on the film in more ways. It gives the movie another note as we hover over the possibilities of what he saw being real or effects from his PTSD. He definitely has an aggressive and assured know-how with keeping safe and dispatching people, seen explicitly as he brings together a skull and table in bloody harmony. It’s an intriguing character if nothing else that makes us question the authenticity of reality presented.
Gesaffelstein; a French DJ really adds a great tone to the film, his techno score making what we see feel more stylish. There is a great electric beat punctuated by slow motion throughout the film and together it makes the movie much more emphatic and intriguing – a word I feel perfectly sums up this feature entirely. I truly recommend reaching out to listen to this soundtrack because it enhances the movie greatly.
Matthias Schoenaerts is the go to man for silently brooding men who also happen to take their shirts off. He plays the more damaged and shaky side of a former soldier really well though and makes us always debate the choices he makes. Diane Kruger isn’t in that much but is a convincing glamorous mother with bite and gets trawled through by the actions of Vincent.
A thriller with small thrills and a slow start, but plenty of perfect stylish sounds, tense moments and yes, intriguing ideas.