Tuesday, March 08, 2016

You're Locked In Here With Me

It's no doubt been said before that Matthias Schoenaerts is built like a brick shithouse, and rightfully so, but Disorder, his new flick from French director Alice Winocour, turns that colloquialism on its head, literally -- his great big head is a great big house, and we're stuck inside it, slapping at the walls alongside him and his crazypants.

Matthias plays Vincent, a recently back-from-action soldier suffering from what can only be called "episodes" - he's hallucinating things and having strange bleeding fits. While he waits to see if he's ousted from service he takes on some private security work, and with him we wander onto the grounds and through the labyrinthine corridors of the gussied up version of that aforementioned brick shithouse - it's only eventually, as the soundscape pulses and drags us down into the depths of his mindset that we realize we're sharing his hallucination, one paranoid schizo step at a time.

Unfortunately for her and her son, there's other folks stuck in there too - Jessie (Diane Kruger) and her son Ali are his wards, but for a good long while we're not quite sure if he's the one protecting them or the hulking menace in the shadows itself. They say that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, but remove the center and watch the suspicion bloom. When you can't tell the difference between the sounds of explosions and bird-song, there's a problem.

This is the best Schoenaerts has been since Bullhead probably, wound up in knots and tossed into a familial scene like an explosive - his eyeballs themselves seem to sweat as he twitches over his charges. His paranoia consumes all and Wincour's camera swirls around them, stretching the tension well past bearable up to something kind of exquisite.

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