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New Order film review

★★★★★

Directed by: Michel Franco

Written by: Michel Franco

Starring: Naian González Norvind, Fernando Cuautle, Diego Boneta

 

New Order (2020) Film Review


New Order film review
New Order film review

The Purge meets Parasite in filmmaker Michel Franco’s exhaustingly compelling film New Order which depicts a violent underclass uprising in Mexico, and the harrowing fallout.


During an affluent wedding party, events take a brutal turn as a rebellion in the city around them spills into rich family’s property and the weapon-wielding gatecrashers, as well as some of the servants already there, rob the wealthy attendees, brutalise them, and spray a vivid green one anything in sight - seemingly a mark of the New Order. Having left the party early to aid a sick friend, the bride-to-be Marianne (Naian González Norvind) finds herself kidnapped not long after, now the family must attempt to use their resources to save her in the new terrifying landscape.


With beautifully fluid camerawork and an impressive use of just-offscreen threat, Franco creates palpable tension in every frame which is almost unbearable. The shocking nature of the narrative is done justice by the equally haunting filmmaking which captures the frenetic chaos of each situation with a spooky calm.


The class revolution here takes centre stage, with a myriad of characters from each “side” of the divide playing heroes and villains, and viewers are asked to witness character revelations that seem unconnected with their bank balance and just their morality. There is a survival element to New Order which makes it almost video-game-like, and this pacing is key to the power of the film - never letting the tropes of the crime-thriller genre settle long enough for the audience to feel like they’re on solid ground. Each gripping set-piece leads to another before you can catch your breath and Franco keeps us in a state of surrender for the svelt 90-minute running time.


A foreign-language film to be released in cinemas in August and then on Mubi in September, the film rattled more than a few cages at TIFF. The rather underwhelming aggregate scores for the film, originally titled Nuevo orden, seem to reflect a reluctance to embrace the film’s core element (and strength in this critic’s eyes) which is the abandonment of genre failsafes.


This is exacting cinema, a tour-de-force of filmmaking that is as unrelenting as it is ferocious. Akin to the story it’s telling, New Order does not attempt to make you feel comfortable in some nearing dystopia where the rags and rich collide. This is meant to unseat you, to unsettle you, and without mercy upset you.



IN CINEMAS IN THE UK & IRELAND 13 AUGUST 2021

ON MUBI FROM 10 SEPTEMBER 2021




 

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