Sundance Selects has picked up Alice Winocour’s “Disorder.” The Parisian writer/director follows up her 2012 Cannes Critics’ Week entry “Augustine” with this Un Certain Regard premiere formerly titled “Maryland.”
While her moody period debut “Augustine” turned on a 19th-century case of female “hysteria,” her sophomore feature pivots on Matthias Schoenaerts as Vincent, a French Special Forces soldier reeling from PTSD who’s hired to protect Jessie (Diane Kruger), the wife of a wealthy Lebanese businessman. Holed up in her Maryland villa, Vincent’s obsession unfurls into increasing paranoia.
No release date yet from Sundance Selects. “Disorder” marks the company’s first Cannes 2015 pickup. Here’s what critics are saying:
A fine-cut tension exercise that eventually ignites into a full-blown home-invasion thriller, “Disorder” reps about the last step one might have expected Winocour to take after debuting with 2012’s porcelain-textured costumer “Augustine.” It’s a sharp, slinky change of pace, however, given human backbone by Matthias Schoenaerts’ tightly wound performance as a PTSD-afflicted ex-soldier hired to protect Diane Kruger’s corporate trophy wife. Schoenaerts’ current international ubiquity lends added commercial appeal to a genre pic that already doesn’t want for exportable elements.
At the same time, [Winocour] has endeavored to make a straight-ahead, home invasion thriller, only to inadvertently reveal that she still has a few things to learn if she intends to compete with Hollywood genre films on their own terms. Still, the moderately tense situations and charismatic turn by Matthias Schoenaerts as the troubled but capable French Special Forces vet should generate decent returns in numerous territories.
Winocour’s ability to build suspense is solid but she’s less confident when it comes to following through. She toys with perversity but sticks to formula. At various points in the film she also attempts to add a topical element to the proceedings but this mainly consists of clumsily inserted news soundbites, throwing us crumbs that lead us nowhere. The film lurches to a generically overwrought climax which manages to just about hold the attention but frustrate with its emptiness. I’d have happily rewatched the first half instead.