Six Of The Best: Matthias Schoenaerts

Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts first wowed critics in bruising crime drama Bullhead (2011), a role that jump-started his career. Filmmakers from across the world quickly came knocking, so enamoured were they with the actor’s ability to find the vulnerability in even the most violent characters. His latest film is Disorder, the sophomore feature from writer-director Alice Winocour, in which he plays an ex-solider who takes a job in personal security. Suffering from the damaging effects of PTSD brought about from his time on the battle lines, he finds that his new job offers little respite from his increasing paranoia. Slick and tightly composed, Disorder is a thriller featuring Schoenaerts at the top of his game. Ahead of the film’s DVD and Blu-ray release on 25 July, we’ve compiled the Belgian’s finest roles to date.

Disorder – 2016

disorderSchoenaerts plays Vincent, an ex-Special Services soldier who takes a job in security after returning home. He thinks he is settling in well but when his wealthy employer leaves, Vincent is left to protect his wife Jessie (Diane Kruger) and their child. Schoenaerts gives a chilling performance as Vincent, who suffers from the ramifications of PTSD. This slick thriller delves into the levels of Vincent’s paranoia and his uncertainty that Jessie is in danger. A strong and very engaging performance.

The Danish Girl – 2016

danish-girlSchoenaerts plays the fictional role of Hans Axgil in the Oscar-winning film The Danish Girl, the latest from Tom Hooper. Hans is an art dealer and childhood friend of Lili Elbe (Eddie Redmayne), who undergoes groundbreaking transgender surgery. As Lili’s wife Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander) confides in Hans, they grow closer and he becomes her friend and confident, causing a rift in her marriage as Lili makes her own choices. Schoenaerts only plays a small role in the film, which rounded off a pretty solid year for his career.

A Bigger Splash – 2015

bigger-splashStarring alongside the likes of Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson, Schoenaerts plays a filmmaker whose Italian vacation with girlfriend Marianne Lane (Swinton), a famous rock star, is scuppered with the arrival of an old friend and his estranged daughter, played by Fiennes and Johnson. Directed by I Am Love (2009) filmmaker Luca Guadagnino, this is a balmy, feisty drama about jealousy, passion and fraught desires.

Far From The Madding Crowd – 2015

Mathias-Schoenaerts-Far-From-the-Madding-CrowdPlaying one of the suitors in this new adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic literary love story, Schoenaerts steps into the shoes of English actor Alan Bates to play Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer who vies for the attention of Bathsheba Everdene (played by Carey Mulligan). At the same time, he’s forced to fend off her other suitors Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge) and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen). Schoenaerts, who was handpicked by co-star Mulligan after she saw his performance in Rust and Bone, is captivating in this richly appealing adaptation of a classic novel. You can read our review here.

A Little Chaos – 2015

Matthias-Schoenaerts-little-chaosDirected, written by and starring the late Alan Rickman, A Little Chaos is a romantic drama following landscape designer Sabine (Kate Winslet) who is commissioned to build a garden at the Palace of Versailles for King Louis XIV (Rickman). The story follows her struggles with class barriers as she becomes entangled with the court’s renowned landscape artist André Le Nôtre, played by Schoenaerts. You can find our review here.

Rust and Bone – 2012

Matthias-Schoenaerts-Rust-and-BoneThe critically acclaimed Rust and Bone sees two towering performances from both Schoenaerts and his co-star Marion Cotillard. The romantic drama directed by Jacques Audiard follows Ali (Schoenaerts), an unemployed father in his mid-20s who’s looking for work to support his son. When he gets a job as a bouncer in a nightclub, he meets Stephanie (Cotillard) a killer whale trainer who later suffers an accident, causing her legs to be amputated. As Ali and Stephanie grow closer, they begin to question their relationship in a heartfelt story about an exhilarating love.

John McArthur
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