Disorder (aka Maryland) movie review: security blank

Disorder red light

MaryAnn’s quick take…

Moments of genuine tension are few in this would-be suspenseful thriller, which can’t settle on a state of mind for its protagonist, or for its own story.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): love Matthias Schoenaerts and Diane Kruger
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

And I was so looking forward to this! I’ll watch Matthias Schoenaerts (and Diane Kruger) in anything, and director Alice Winocour wrote the amazing Mustang, so I imagined Disorder would be a slam dunk. But it just doesn’t work on any level. Oh, Schoenaerts (The Danish Girl) brings all the smoldering intensity we love him for as Vincent, a soldier suffering from PTSD who takes a side job doing security for Jessie (Kruger: Fathers & Daughters), the wife of a Lebanese businessman, guarding her and the couple’s palatial French Riveria estate, called Maryland, while hubby is away on a work trip. Winocour gets intriguingly female-gazey on Schoenaerts, but we never really get inside his messed-up head in the way she intends, which I blame entirely on the script (which Winocour wrote with Jean-Stéphane Bron): it can’t settle on a state of mind for Vincent, or for its own storytweet. Is he paranoid, imagining all sorts of dangers lurking for Jessie, whose husband is, Vincent suspects, in a highly dangerous business? Or is she is actually being targeted by someone who means to do her harm? In the most deeply unsatisfying way possible, the film wants to have it both ways, and doesn’t delve deep enough into either possibility. Moments of genuine tension in what is ostensibly a suspenseful thriller are spaced way too far apart, with the interims lingering far too leisurely on what is, I think, supposed to be a building sexual attraction between Vincent and Jessie, but it never comes to anything more than a slightly queasy unease. I love the idea of the anxiety and atmosphere that Disorder wants to create. I wish it had succeeded.

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.
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