Day 2 at the Sarasota Film Festival was Saturday April 2nd. The feature film tonight was from France, and in France, the film was called Maryland – which was the name of a grand estate villa located in the south of France near Antibes.
For American consumption, the title was changed to Disorder, and technically speaking, the film had nothing to do with our own state of Maryland, so a new title was created for the American market to help avoid confusion.
Written and directed by Alice Winocour, the film stars Matthias Schoenaerts, who you likely have seen in such films as Rust and Bone, Far From the Madding Crowd, The Drop, and The Danish Girl. His co-star is Diane Kruger who was the inscrutable Sonya Cross in the US TV version of The Bridge.
Schoenaerts plays Vincent, a French soldier (he served in Afghanistan) who is currently home in the south of France and is being treated for PTSD. He’s on certain meds and is a somewhat alienated combat veteran who has found it difficult back at home.
Between missions, or until Vincent is cleared to return to action, he and this group of French soldiers are free to pick up free-lance security work. Vincent gets a call and is more than eager to serve in a security detail for a huge party at this estate called Maryland. The state is owned by a Lebanese called Imad Whalid.
Diane Kruger plays Whalid’s wife Jessie.
Okay as the film gets up some speed (and it takes a while), we get the impression that Vincent knows what he’s doing, has sharp instincts, and is quite likely to be excellent is a security detail.
This particular assignment will be using a five man security detail. Whalid is hosting a huge soiree and the terms tres chic definitely fit. Security will cover the grounds, the front gate, and various points within the house itself in a kind of revolving manner.
While we don’t see much of the party, we know that there are many moguls, ministers, and other movers and shakers in attendance. Most of the time we are either trailing Vincent or seeing what he sees in a standard point-of-view perspective. Plus there’s the eaves-dropping, intentional or otherwise, that we (and Vincent) overhear.
Vincent is edgy and effective, and yet he seems both scary and serious. People arrive who are not on the guest list provided to security. But a phone call, possibly to Whalid, gets them in. We overhear bits and pieces or snippets of conversations. We watch as groups of men splinter off to the sides, away from the main ebb and flow of the party, to talk; and seemingly they’re aware of being overheard, and don’t wish to be.
Vincent susses out, rather quickly that something is going on. He’s not sure what that might be, and Director/Writer Winocour, keeps us in the dark as well.
That Whalid is an arms-dealer will ultimately be revealed. But the party goes off without much evidence of wrong-doing.
Soon Whalid tells Jessie that he has to go off to Geneva on business for a couple of days, and Vincent is offered an additional couple of days work to protect and guard Jessie and the couple’s young son. So the middle act is about Jessie and Vincent bonding.
Then comes the sensational third act. Winocour pulls out all the stops and now, we are on the edge of our seats. There’s a chase, a shoot out, and ultimately the films plays its trump card – a home invasion.
I’m going to rate this film as extremely well done in terms of building tension, suspense, and stress, and in the way both the visuals, the techno-beat sound track, and Vincent’s intensity draw the viewer in.
As a European film, I must tell you that Winocour takes her time in getting us where we want to be. But when we do get there the pay-off is sublime.
Kruger is attractive, sexy, and apparently totally unaware of what her hubby does for a living. She’s lucky to have Vincent around. Only, and this is a big only – is Vincent really seeing what he thinks he’s seeing? Are the threats that he perceives real, or are they hallucinatory?
Don’t forget – Vincent is still taking his meds.
This is a film well worth your time. Three point seven five is my rating.