Disorder review: A suspenseful and paranoia-tinged thriller that pulls a few punches

 
Steve Hogarty
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Matthias Schoenaerts as Vincent in Disorder

Disorder (12A) | Dir. Alice Winocour
★★★☆☆

Chunky hunk-man Matthias Schoenaerts is no stranger to punch-centric roles, having risen to fame for his part in Bullhead (a film about a man who injects himself with all manner of illegal punch-hormones) and Rust and Bone (a film about a man who could punch a fridge into orbit if it ever pleased him to do so).

In Disorder the Belgian actor plays Vincent, a PTSD-stricken ex-soldier who finds work as a private bodyguard for the family of a wealthy Lebanese businessman. Still shaken and wracked with barely concealed anxiety, the sweat-sodden Vincent is very convincingly portrayed. He is a tormented pile of traumatised beef. He becomes the physical embodiment of a muscle cramp, a migraine granted human form by some terrible genie. Shrieking, deafening audio accompanies his frequent panic attacks. Just watching him leaves you feeling exhausted.

A mounting paranoia that the wife (Diane Kruger) and young son he’s been tasked with protecting are soon to be abducted by marauding balaclava goons forms the backbone of a good and suspenseful mystery, but one that’s all too quickly broken when the entirely real bad guys turn up wearing their finest kidnapping gloves.

Disorder then reverts to the tried-and-true punching formula for which its star is renowned. But the film’s two halves just don’t play well together, the first a tense portrayal of a soldier’s struggle to return to civilian life, the second a thinly plotted, badly lit and at times nonsensical action flick.

For all its carefully ratcheted first act tension, Disorder never finds a way to let off the steam it builds up so well. A dark and paranoia-tinged thriller with punches that ultimately fail to land.

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