Disorder throws a bunch of stuff at you as returning soldier/bodyguard Matthias Schoenaerts is tasked with protecting Diane Kruger on the French Rivera. Set under the umbrella of a vet suffering from PTSD and a wife exposed of her arm’s dealing husband, the plot moves past you without firmly latching on to even the main issue at hand and leaves the viewer in wait of an ending to tie everything together. While one is provided (and masterfully), the preceding events all seem too roundabout to justify the 98 minutes you just sat through.
Vincent is back in France and under outpatient treatment for PTSD. Nonetheless, he agitates to be sent back. We know because he says so.
Therein Disorder begins violating the basic tenet of film 101 – show don’t tell. Unlike in The Hurt Locker, you just feel Jeremy Renner’s adrenaline rush in the field, and the dire need to get his fix. This especially as the end leaves him completely juxtaposed in a grocery story and relegated to the drudgery of civilian life.
His army mate Denis informing Jessica that he never really came home doesn’t quite do it. The best Vincent can do in the interim is private security work, and he ends up on the Kruger detail.
Thus the promo asks what happens when the man hired to protect you may be the real threat? Here Disorder attended the introductory class, but director/writer Alice Winocour didn’t make the grade.
Vincent makes the security rounds among a disorderly musical score, ringing in the ears and out of focus vision. Add his agitation, and we are supposed to be left at a loss as his choices try to discern between real threats and imagined ones. The message comes across, but not as strongly as the prospect for a headache or the inclination to toggle back to the TV.
But Vincent’s disorder does not keep him from coming through when it counts. The husband away, the body guard thwarts a real attempt to abduct the unwitting wife and child.
Either way, he starts to like Kruger which doesn’t help his ability to process and should add to the agenda. Instead, you’re not all that compelled. She has nice legs, blonde hair but extra skin in the game and more belaboring doesn’t necessarily show why we should really care.
Of course, as Vincent comes to realize her husband is an arm’s dealer, he isn’t shy about holding both accountable. He uses the revelation and the moral high ground to help make his case that she should leave the luxury her husband provides. But the audience isn’t sure whether to pass judgement or simply let it dangle.
Inevitably, the final confrontation is upon us, and Vincent’s handling of the situation does more than show us how effective a soldier he is. We finally see his PTSD in full flower. So does Vincent, and he doesn’t like it.
This opens us to a climax that points Vincent in the direction of hope and clearly shows that the basis is always simple human connection.
This didn’t come soon enough for me, but the awe inspiring ending might still be enough to slip the knot for others.
Disorder is now available on DVD from IFC Films.0