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Peter Van den Eede
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Tine Van den Wyngaert,
Vincent Loreau (Matthias Schoenaerts), a French Special Forces soldier just back from Afghanistan, is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He is hired to ensure the safety of Jessie, the wife of a wealthy Lebanese businessman in his "Maryland" property in the South of France. While he feels a strange fascination for the woman he must protect, Vincent is prone to anxiety and hallucinations. Despite the apparent tranquility on "Maryland", Vincent perceives an external threat...Written by
In a twist on the story of a combat veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder attempting to adjust to civilian life, director Alice Winocour realigns the balance of the narrative to focus as much on romance and one woman's perspective as action and a psychologically wounded man.
Vincent takes odd jobs as he lobbies to return to combat as a soldier. Despite its inherent dangers, combat at least is a place where he has a mission and purpose. Civilian life is not so kind. It is confusing, degrading and offers little in the way of sympathy for what Vincent has been through. A side job as part of a security team, together with his military pals, takes Vincent to a mansion, party and pretty woman who attracts his eyes and focus. In the ensuing days Vincent is drawn into a personal security detail for her. When she is targeted for kidnapping, the pair must draw upon not just Vincent's military training, but upon their basic qualities as human beings. Because each of them has moved in different spheres until then, this may not work so well.
The sound selections and wounded hero narrative are reminiscent of the Nicolas Winding Refn films that I love. However, Winocour cannot quite match Refn's levels of tension, chemistry and spectacle. I admire the acting of Matthias Schoenaerts and he does not disappoint here. While the film has some potential to live up to, there is ample suspense and intrigue inside the characters and the scenes that envelop them. Seen at the 2016 Miami International Film Festival.
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