More ADIFF 2016 coverage.
Disorder (previously titled “Maryland”) is the story of a French soldier who takes on a private family home security job and ends up in a world of trouble after the father’s shady business dealings set up his wife and child as a target. Matthias Schoenaerts, playing the lead Vincent, builds on the brooding intensity we’ve seen him exhibit in Rust and Bone and The Danish Girl and is a fantastically conflicted but focussed central screen presence opposite Diane Kruger. The darkness that overcomes someone returning from war is something we’re all familiar with on-screen and the hat-tip to post-traumatic stress disorder is enough for the audience to know that this is a guy on the edge.
Also of merit is director Alice Winocour’s direction and pacing. The film moves along at just the right tempo as the tension ratchets up and the story is slowly revealed with the film’s 98minute runtime zipping by. With Vincent knowing nothing, precisely how much Kruger’s character knows about what her husband does – and hence how dangerous the situation is – is what will keep the audience hooked.
Demolition is a classic example of a film you’re likely to love or hate. I interpreted it as a black comedy without that key component for a comedy of any type – laughs. If you want to go the other way and consider it a pure drama, why the need for all the “jokes” in Bryan Sipe’s script?
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Davis, a prospering investment banker whose wife dies in a car accident, in which he is a passenger but escapes without a scratch. His lack of emotional intelligence is then presented to the audience by means of a narrative device around a complaint letter to a vending machine company after trying to buy a candy bar in the emergency ward doesn’t result in a candy bar. He then forms a relationship of sorts (initially only through phonecalls and the written word) with the vending machine company’s customer service manager, played by Naomi Watts. Complicating all this is the fact that Davis’ boss is also his father-in-law, played by Chris Cooper.
It’s a story about death, grieving and loneliness and yet somehow you’re left feeling nothing due to the ongoing need to lighten the mood.. It’s an incredible achievement by Jean-Marc Vallee who managed to elicit so much emotion from the audience in his last work Dallas Buyer’s Club.
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