Vincent (Matthias Schoenaerts), a French Special Forces soldier recently returned from Afghanistan, states the desire immediately to leave southern France and go back to the battlefield, despite suffering frequent anxiety attacks, disorientation and hallucinations. When the medical diagnosis points to PTSD, he is forced to look for a civilian job. Teaming up with other former soldiers, he is hired to provide security during a glamorous party of super-rich Lebanese businessman Whalid at his unbelievably vast and ostentatious “Maryland” estate. Surrounded by glitzy eye-candy, most of all Whalid’s German trophy wife Jessie (Diane Kruger), he has a quiet evening, but overhears some secret talks indicating Whalid’s possibly corrupt involvement with arms deals. Of course, he declares not to have understood a thing.
Promptly, it is Vincent who is offered the job to protect Jessie and her son Ali for the weekend, while Whalid is off for a suspicious trip to Germany. Staying in the empty Maryland, he observes Jessie’s behaviour and keeps an eye on the whole estate via surveillance cameras. She appears worried and exhausted, and it’s unclear if her uneasiness is caused by an outside threat or by Vincent’s unsettling paranoia. There is great suspense about a possible assault during a trip to the beach, but one is left to believe that it is only Vincent’s nervous state. Suddenly, hitting the viewers unprepared and clinging to their seats, the danger becomes very real. After eliminating the attackers professionally and sitting through a police interrogation until the evening, Vincent drives his protégés back to Maryland, only to hear that Whalid was arrested at the Swiss border. What follows is a “home invasion thriller”, as the Americans call it with relish and concern.
Alice Winocour conceived her brain child when talking to actual Afghanistan veterans. She planned the movie with Schoenaerts in mind, who has an animalistic presence throughout, and apparently only slept two hours each night to be able to relate to the tense character. The steel-blue soundtrack by DJ Gesaffelstein and the skilfully-cut pace of Maryland manage to engage the audience to the last minute, only after the credits do they start to feel tricked about a number of plot holes.
Maryland does not yet have a UK release date.
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