Sunday, March 06, 2016

“Disorder” (“Maryland”) – Movie Review



This weekend, I attended a screening at The Film Society Of Lincoln Center’s French Film Festival of the new thriller, “Disorder” (AKA “Maryland”). 


When an emotionally troubled French Army veteran is hired to guard a millionaire’s wife and child, will he be able to save them from intruders out to harm them or is this all just his imagination?


After serving in Afghanistan under the French Army, Vincent is not without his wounds – but in his case, they are all psychological.   Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, he sees doctors regularly and is medicated.  While he awaits his next mission, he takes various odd jobs – among them is serving a security detail for a wealthy Lebanese businessman who requires services during a party at his expansive mansion known as Maryland.  Once the assignment is over, Vincent is hired to serve as a bodyguard to the man’s wife, Jessie, and their son.  Desperately needing the money, he reluctantly accepts the assignment.

Jessie is much younger than her husband; she is a beautiful blonde who attracts much attention.  Despite this, Vincent tries to remain both professional and focused on his assignment, especially since his friend Denis was kind enough to set him up for this extremely well-paid job.  Soon, however, Vincent begins to suspect there is much that hasn’t been explained to him – such as Jessie’s husband’s involvement in international intrigue that includes arms dealing and elections.  Does Jessie herself even know about this?

Eventually, Vincent’s worst fears are realized when a kidnapping attempt is made on Jessie and her son.  Although he is able to rescue them, he believes that they may both be in danger and tries to convince them to leave the country for their safety.  In spite of Vincent’s best efforts, Jessie, however, seems to be in denial over both her husband’s business dealings and her family’s danger; as a result, she very much wants to remain in their home, regardless of whatever dangers may or may not exist.  Can Vincent convince her to seek safety or will they all be in danger for their lives? 


For the most part, “Disorder” (or “Maryland”, as it was previously titled at other film festival screenings) is a terrific nail-biting thriller – in many ways, it is extremely reminiscent of some of Hitchcock’s best (except this one’s got a bit more violence).  Ultimately, however, the film self-sabotages with its confusing ending.  With many movies, their quality can be defined by whether or not their conclusion is satisfying for an audience; it is disappointing that “Disorder”, an otherwise satisfying movie, is eventually done in by its denouement. 

What’s particularly interesting about “Disorder” – and certainly one of the things that makes it reminiscent of Hitchcock – is the fact that the audience wonders whether or not all of this is real or is merely a figment of Vincent’s imagination, which may have been severely impacted by his service in Afghanistan.  Director Alice Winocour (who also collaborated on the screenplay) does a great job of resonating this by the various news reports on television that reflect what’s happening in occasional political events around the world. 

Following the screening, there was a question and answer session with Winocour and Diane Kruger, who played Jessie.  Winocour fielded most of the questions on this evening, stating that she was inspired to make “Disorder” after having met with veterans of the war in Afghanistan who suffered from various psychological problems once their service had concluded.  She also added that the shoot was particularly difficult because of the fact that most of it was done in the house where the family lived and it all felt especially claustrophobic because they were there for a couple of months. 

Disorder (2015) on IMDb

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