IFFBoston Review: Nothing Can Fix This ‘Disorder’

Samuel Kaufman ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Disorder is a French movie that probably would have been much worse if it was made by Americans. It would have starred Gerard Butler, had a lot of flashbacks, no subtlety, more explosions and the plot would have been way dumber… actually strike that. The plot would be just as dumb. Comparing this film to its hypothetical American remake doesn’t earn it any points. Just because this could have been a worse movie, that doesn’t prevent Disorder from being terrible.

Disorder follows Vincent (Matthias Schoenaerts) as a professional soldier suffering from PTSD and partial hearing loss on a break between deployments. To earn some extra money him and some fellow soldiers take a job as a security team for a very upscale party hosted at the expansive private estate of a Lebanese businessman. Following the night, Vincent is offered another job with the family, protecting the wife (Diane Kruger), son, and dog while the father is out of the country on a two day business trip. This is a trite premise. However, it is more than possible to make a good movie from that synopsis. It is even possible to make a good movie out of this premise. This is not that movie.

There is a virtual laundry list of problems with Disorder, but the most egregious by far is that the film tries to make an action movie that is slow, character driven and tense, without ever making you care about the characters. Besides the fact that the two leads don’t seem to be actively bad people and thus you don’t wish harm upon them, the film never establishes any reason to care about these people, so the threat of them getting killed doesn’t crank up the tension like it should. With a commendable level of subtlety, the cinematography establishes themes of voyeurism and mistrust, but the motivation for these themes is largely unexplained and the film fails miserably when it attempts to give them a resolution.

In addition to not caring about the relationship between the characters, you constantly feel smarter than them. It is one thing to know more or less than the characters, but to be smarter than them leads to nothing but an infuriating movie-watching experience. Speaking of infuriating, things like, for example, major plot points and character motivations are just never explained. Yes, you read that correctly. The crux of the plot is bad guys attacking our central characters, and you never know why the unnamed bad guys are doing this, or what they hope to accomplish. And it doesn’t stop there.

The fight scenes are so poorly choreographed, shot, and edited that it is often impossible to tell what is happening. The music is strange. The special effects are terrible. The actors have zero chemistry, sexual or otherwise. The logic of the film is horribly flawed. Jessie (Diane Kruger’s character) is completely helpless in all circumstances, deferring to the men around her to protect her/make decisions. Except, of course when she actively puts her family in more danger by arbitrarily refusing to leave the house after it has become apparent that they are being attacked. You haven’t seen Diane Kruger this aggravating and helpless since National Treasure.

Disorder isn’t a fun bad movie. It isn’t a good idea executed poorly, or vice versa. It isn’t a so-bad-it’s-good movie. Disorder is just a flat out bad film.

Overall Grade: F

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