Friday, 8 April 2016

REVIEW - DISORDER (ALICE WINOCOUR)


Alice Winocour's Disorder is one big, inconsequential foil, a collection of scenes and suggestions that add up to much less than promised. And what a thrilling foil it is, as an example of true technical mastery, and as a smart, understated subtextual tease. It ostensibly operates as a taut thriller, the likes of which use such distractions as narrative depth and complexity only fleetingly, only to establish solid foundations for action set-pieces; Winocour interweaves elements of this depth and complexity in such a simple, natural manner that she leaves Disorder's straightforward surface undisturbed, whilst introducing gentle undercurrents of suspicion and mistrust. These developments amplify the impact of her mise-en-scene, complimenting the audio and visual motifs that hint at potential dangers, potentially imminent - always only potential (until they're not). The whole film hums with unease and curiosity. What Winocour chooses to divulge, from what she chooses to conceal, is largely perfunctory in plot terms, thereby nullifying the narrative interest so subtly stirred up earlier, though wholly satisfactory in technical terms. Disorder follows through on its genre promises, revealing itself to be exactly what it appears, giving its wily winks in the direction of dramatic import a cheeky charm, somewhat mitigating their otherwise obvious insipidness. Winocour launches her film into pure thriller territory, relying on the superb skills of sensory suggestion she's heretofore used more sparingly (though equally successfully). Brilliant blocking and terrific sound design (including fine soundtrack choices and an admirably unobtrusive score by Gesaffelstein) make for a marvellously tense third act. And Matthias Schoenaerts' performance is an ideal match, both in purpose and in quality - his hulking physique as pitch-perfect as his emotional intensity.