31 March 2016



Woo-hoo! Matthias Schoenaerts, the sexiest thing to come out of Belgium since the Brussels sprout, is back on the big screen and guess what? He's once again wearing the security guard's earpiece he was last seen sporting in Jacques Audiard's masterpiece RUST AND BONE (2012), when he was on the door outside the club where he met the girl. Not just any girl, but the girl.

RUST AND BONE is a truly awe-inspiring film which I was privileged to have seen in the winter of 2015 when it formed part of the Irish Film Institute's French Film Festival. I even met the famous director, boast boast! Well, I didn't actually meet him as such. He introduced RUST AND BONE to a roomful of people but I was in the front row, wearing my intelligent face and practically jumping up and down with excitement at meeting (all right then, seeing!) such a distinguished film personage.

Anyway, it's hard not to fall straightaway in love with Matthias Schoenaerts, a gorgeous man with soulful eyes and a huge fit body that makes his fellow Belgian, Jean-Claude Van Damme, look like Grampa Simpson on an off-day, haha. Not that The Muscles From Brussels isn't a delicious dish as and of himself, but Matthias Schoenaerts is a pure hunk of beefcake, if you'll excuse my objectifying the male body for a moment. It's not like you guys would ever do that to us chicks...!

This Belgian Love-God is brilliant in DISORDER, a French language film with a small bit of English in it. He plays Vincent Loreau, a young soldier recently returned from the war in Afghanistan. The titular disorder is of a Post-Traumatic Stress nature, and it makes Vincent edgy and paranoid. Combined with the hearing loss he's also sustained, he's basically a big bag of nerves, popping pills for different things and feeling hemmed-in and claustrophobic at times.

It could have been much worse for Vincent, though. We see him visiting a hospital for war veterans at one point, and it's full of amputees who've lost one or even both legs and who are now facing into a tough future. Vincent's body is intact, but his mind's a little shaken up. Instead of being firmly anchored, it seems to feel like it's come loose and is rattling around inside his skull. He keeps running his lovely big hands over his shaved head (those prickly hairs look so soft, sigh!), maybe to check that everything's still where it should be and nothing's amiss.

Anyway, while he's waiting to hear if the army will let him go back to Afghanistan, he takes a job as a minder for a rich guy's wife and son. The rich guy is Imad Whalid. He and his family live in this fantastic huge house with a massive big garden. He hobnobs with politicians and Ambassadors and Ministers, so at first I thought he was a politician himself. He's not, though. Vincent figures out that he's something a lot shadier than that. Well, if there is any job shadier than politician, haha.

Vincent is left in sole charge of Whalid's wife and son for two days while Whalid goes off to Geneva on unspecified business. Shady dealings, no doubt. Vincent has every reason to suspect that the three of them (four if you count the Whalids' gorgeous doggy, Ghost) are not safe, left behind all alone in the big empty house with the lights and the alarms going off every five minutes, or so it seems. It's enough to make anyone nervy, that is.

And there's something going on with Jessie, too, Whalid's wife. She seems uncomfortable in Vincent's presence, even antagonistic at times. She may have plenty to worry about in the form of her husband's illegal shenanigans, but God Almighty! Does she have to be so surly and puss-faced all the time? She certainly seems like your typical rich man's missus. Like Carmela Soprano, she may not be privy to the dodgiest of her hubby's business dealings but she's more than happy to reap the benefits.

Or wear the benefits, more like. Jewellery and designer togs and suchlike. Not that Jessie's putting on the style in the film, though, slobbing around in a trackie like that with her hair all lank and hanging around her face. Vincent is drawn to the mopey cow, though. Don't think I wasn't madly jealous about that, haha. Where in the name of God is it all going to end? She's a married woman, after all. Even if her hubby is the shadiest thing since the invention of the patio umbrella. That's a joke, see, so make sure you laugh now...!

Matthias spends most of the film walking quietly around the house holding a gun. I'd be happy to look at him regardless of what he was doing, so I didn't mind a bit. He's the strong silent type and he doesn't get much dialogue to say, either, but his handsome face is extremely expressive and can say
what he needs it to say at any given time. He's excellent at looking stressed and under pressure, or faoin brรบ, as we say here in Ireland. If there was an award for this, I'd certainly give it to him.

I was gutted at the lack of sex in the film. No sex means no sightings of Monsieur Schoenaerts's superb unclad buttocks (as in RUST AND BONE), although his magnificent man-bosoms are exposed for our delectation in DISORDER a time or two. Buttocks are still worth more, though...!

I'm afraid I didn't think much of Diane Kruger as Jessie Whalid. She doesn't seem to have the likeability factor, and no, it's not because I'm jealous of her getting to hang out with Matthias! I just plain old didn't like her, full-stop, whereas Marion Cotillard, his female co-star in RUST AND BONE, was immensely likeable. Her character Stephanie has guts to spare and good humour in the face of adversity, whereas Jessie Whalid just comes across as a discontented rich wife with terrible dress sense. 

Musically, there's a good pumping beat to the film and also some gorgeous shots of the garden in the rain. I love seeing stuff like that. DISORDER is a great film, although I have to confess that I'm biased and I would have gone to see any old rubbish just so long as You-Know-Who was starring in it.

As it happens, though, DISORDER is a tight, taut, tense thriller (all the t's!') and I'd certainly watch more films by Alice Winocour in the future. And, if she happens to use You-Know-Who as her leading man again, I'll jolly well watch 'em twice.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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