Directed by Alice Winocur
Country: France / Belgium
French filmmaker Alice Winocur makes an incursion on the psychological thriller in her sophomore feature “Disorder”, starring Matthias Schoenaerts and Diane Kruger.
Also a talented screenwriter, Winocur was behind “Mustang”, last year’s acclaimed drama set in Turkey and directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, and collaborated in “Home”, a Swiss gem directed by Ursula Meier.
Despite the visible talent of the writer/director, “Disorder” isn’t as keen as her debut “Augustine”, a well-acted drama from 2012 that caused a tremendous impression.
The story follows Vincent (Schoenaerts) who struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder due to his former activities in Afghanistan. Now living in Maryland, his hometown, Vincent goes to regular medical appointments and tries to control the anxiety and hallucinations with strong anxiolytics. To make a living, he works sporadically as a security guard for a company that operates in private parties and high-risk events.
In one of those parties, Vincent shows how unstable and paranoid he can be. Constantly restless, he’s usually extra alert and detailed, but sometimes he may become completely absent, struggling with his mind and the noises in his ears.
The host of the party was a shadowy Lebanese businessman whose attractive German wife, Jessica (Kruger), is entrusted to Vincent’s protection during the following days due to her husband's absence. The bodyguard will travel with her and her little son to the French Riviera, where they have a beachfront house, following her everywhere and giving all the assistance she might need.
Smartly, Winocur plays with the fact that every tension occurred from an apparent danger can be a product of Vincent’s mind, and all the information given can be a trap.
The script itself is not devoid of traps, and despite Schoenaerts and Kruger’s solid performances, the film loses some vitality along the way, getting stranded in an ambiguity that creates softness rather than excitement.
The director also attempted to introduce some sensuality in the relationship of the pair. However, this aspect was disappointing, I must say. Even the not so unpredictable finale works more like an obstruction than a strength.