Disorder, directed by Alice Winocour, is a film with a really compelling central character, however the film loses its way; not only with its main character, but also the overall story. This is a film that starts off with such promise and soon overlooks all of the things that first make it so interesting. Let’s look at the many areas to this film, and see where things went wrong.
The story in Disorder primarily revolves around Vincent Loreau – played by Matthias Schoenaerts – who is an ex-soldier that is suffering from PTSD. He takes what is supposed to be a simple security job at a party filled with wealthy people. However, Vincent is asked to stay on and look after Jessie – played by Diane Kruger – and her son, while her husband is away on business. But Vincent perceives there to be a threat looming, and it may have something to do with Jessie’s husband’s line of work.
I think what frustrated me the most about this film was that at the core of it was a character that was more than interesting to explore. Vincent Loreau (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a man of few words and he is also a man who within him is a great struggle; not only migraines, but panic-attacks, hallucinations and the need for potent medication to deal with it all. From the very beginning, I was really hoping to learn more about this character; get the chance to explore who he is and how he copes with the problems that he has.
I’d say the first act of the film does a pretty decent job of giving us some insight into him. A lot of that is done simply by showing how he handles everyday life and his work; his inability to properly communicate with people, how he continually loses focus with things around him or how the noise of the world seems to make him want to retreat to a quieter place for a little while. A lot of the beginning of ‘Disorder’ does a good job of setting Vincent up, and easing us into who he is.
So much of that is thanks to Matthias Schoenaerts who conveys Vincent’s struggle, not through words, but by his actions. You learn so much, just from how he physically acts within a scene, or how he emotionally responds to a situation. He makes you sympathise with Vincent and he makes you want to follow more of his story.
So it’s a real shame that the film loses its way with him. The focus is soon pivoted towards the basic plot of the film, and the characters that reside within it. But strangely, there isn’t a compelling enough reason to care about the main-plot of the film; a lot of that is to do with the fact that we don’t really know what is going on. What is Jessie’s Husband up to exactly? Who is it that is possibly threatening his family? These are questions that aren’t answered, and so we are left to make assumptions, which in-turn makes it really hard to invest in what’s happening.
Vincent is almost pulled out of his story, and transplanted into this other one that we don’t care about. The only element that slightly pulls us in is Diane Kruger’s character Jessie; I would say her son, but we are literally given nothing from him, other than that he’s a kid, so we have to care about him I guess. So while you somewhat care for Jessie, the film fails to form any sort of meaningful relationship between her and Vincent. We know that Vincent cares for her, but in what sense, we are never sure. The majority of their scenes consist of awkwardly silent encounters, angry exchanges or out-of-the-blue pleasantries. I never got a sense of where the two of them stood with one another, and it resulted in me not caring.
I also found it odd that the film would seemingly set-up plot points that looked as if they would play a part in proceedings later on (a hostile encounter with a wealthy business man at a party, a violent dog that the corrupt police protection had outside Jessie’s premises) but nope. Nothing really ever came of any of it. They were just moments that happened and then never lead to anything of note.
Ultimately, ‘Disorder’ is disappointing. There is so much promise in the beginning and so much of that is to do with the character of Vincent. His personal struggles pull you in, how the film presents those struggles is really well-done (the disjointed manner in which he exists in scenes in the beginning) and also how Vincent’s mental-issues play into the story in the beginning (is there a threat or is it all part of his wild imagination?) These elements really made for an interesting start. But none of it matters because the film, in the end, devolves into a story that leads nowhere and a film that strands its most interesting components in the first half of itself.
I will not be recommending Disorder. I think I’ve clearly outlined all the reasons why this is a film to pass on. It’s a shame; I had high hopes for this film.
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