Let's Discuss: The 'Disorder' Remake

Deadline is reporting that “Logan” director James Mangold will helm the English-language remake of “Disorder” aka “Maryland.” “Disorder” is a 2015 French-language thriller that is currently streaming on Netflix Instant (U.S.). Co-written and directed by Alice Winocour, the original is an engaging and enigmatic film that features strong lead performances. You can read Eclectic Pop’s full review of it, here.

The movie centers on Vincent (Matthias Schoenaerts) a soldier suffering from PTSD, who takes a job working security for a wealthy man and his family. When the husband leaves on a business trip, Vincent is left in charge of protecting the man’s wife, Jesse (Diane Kruger), and their young son.

Warning: Spoilers about the “Disorder” movie plot are below.

Shortly into the weekend, things take a turn as Vincent’s sensitivity to imminent danger proves crucially life-altering. “Disorder” takes its time getting to this point. It starts casually, ramping up the tension as the movie progresses.

It is a model that has worked with similar films when they give the audience the payoff they have so patiently waited for. That reward does not exactly come together in "Disorder."

Damaging things further is how the film ends in an ambiguous fashion. While Vincent’s perceptions are proven valid, the ending makes it seem as though he is sliding into a psychotic episode, nevertheless.

It is a conclusion that leaves it up to the viewers to decide how "Disorder" actually ends. That choice is not an unprecedented one and it is a trend that will undoubtedly have its supporters and its critics.

The teaser poster for the 2015 film Disorder starring Matthias Schoenaerts and Diane Kruger
[Image by IFC Films]
According to Deadline, “Sicario” screenwriter Taylor Sheridan made some adaptive changes for the English-language remake of “Disorder.” They stated:

“Sheridan used the original as a jumping off point, but changed the soldier’s affliction, added a romance, set the whole thing in Majorca and created a potential franchise character.”

All of these are interesting ideas. The first alteration is the most curious. In the original “Disorder,” Vincent’s condition is PTSD. That condition fits with the character’s background as a combat veteran. With PTSD being an important and topical issue, it is unclear why that needed to be changed to fit the remake’s telling.

Remaking romance

The most promising change comes with the addition of a romance. While “Disorder” featured a flirtation and the nascent hint of a romantic connection between its main characters, the movie did not follow through with the promising chemistry of its leads. It was another disappointing route taken in “Disorder” that personally speaking; cost the film dearly.

It will be interesting to see what effect the change in location from the south of France to the scenic island of Majorca has on the story. While the final note, that Sheridan has “created a potential franchise character,” brings particular excitement.

Bringing order to a promising character

One of the most frustrating aspects of the original “Disorder” is that it has all the tools to emphasize that Vincent is no ordinary bodyguard, rather an extraordinary one, and it does not. “Disorder” teases the audience with an explosive action sequence early on, and never follows up with anything as dazzling.

Movie Poster for the original French version of Disorder
[Image by IFC Films]

It does not seem at ease building this character with the awe and appreciation, he should receive from Jesse and her young son. For the most part, all they show him is fear, although Jesse is shown depending on him.

Towards the end of the movie, Vincent is also forced to share the spotlight with one of his colleagues, who both breaks up the tension and awkwardly adds to it. He also reacts very nonchalantly about the deadly scenario facing the mother and her child, which seems suspicious, yet goes nowhere. 

Ordering up a mystery

“Disorder’s” story also has legs as a mystery, and yet all of that is left largely untouched. Who is behind the attack on Jesse and her son? Where is her husband, and is he actually involved?

Viewers never learn for certain because the movie ends as Jesse leaves with her son, seeking refuge elsewhere. Even though it seems like the start of the movie, it is the end.

The original “Disorder” has all the ingredients to be a smash, yet falls short of completely utilizing them. Can Sheridan chip away and realize the movie’s full potential? And what of the original cast?

Deadline also reports that “the hope is to cast and start production before the year.” Matthias Schoenaerts and Diane Kruger starred in the original, and while “Disorder” is a French-language film, both actors speak fluent English. Could they reprise their roles?

Both gave terrific performances in the original and it is sad to think of them not starring in this remake. With Sheridan’s changes come the opportunity to see both actors flesh out a story that’s potential was not fully realized in the original.

Only time will tell. “Disorder” is a good film, though a cut through some of the chaos could make it a great one.

[Featured Image by IFC Films]

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