LFF 2020: New Order – Review

Release Date – 25th June 2021, Cert – TBC, Run-time – 1 hour 28 minutes, Director – Michel Franco

A busy high-class wedding is interrupted and thrown into chaos when the lower classes stage a violent revolution.

Writer-director Michel Franco’s New Order’s view of revolution is dark. Dark and nihilistic. It’s a bleak view of streets rife with violence, bloody attacks. All starting from nowhere. We start with a peaceful high-class wedding. People are mingling, preparing for the main event and ready to witness perfect union. However, after a former employee comes to his ex-employer’s home asking for help to pay for his wife’s medical bills the chaos soon starts, especially as he’s hastily given little cash seemingly just to get rid of him from the premises. The house becomes ever busier as rioters pour in, lower classes staging a revolution with no mercy.

This is all early in the piece and it quickly spins into chaotic violence and disorder. Sometimes aiming for an emotional impact and response, however a number of images are simply too uncomfortable and disengaging to give a proper response to. In the end it becomes too much and you find yourself with little engagement with the film. It’s hard to connect with a number of the characters, especially due to the fact that with so much going on in the short 88 minute run-time not everyone gets a lot of screen-time as the film jumps back and forth between various locations, ideas and characters. Add to that the feeling of underdeveloped figures, the main differences being those that form the basis of the revolution, class. Franco doesn’t appear to glorify the violence and parade it in front of the viewer, it simply feels too nihilistic to engage with and form a proper connection with the film or the characters who appear throughout it.

After various street attacks and riots, filling the screen with green smoke, water and more – the sign of this particular revolution, mixed in with the blood-stained shirts and faces of both rioters and those captured and trying to escape – it feels that by the end not much else has happened. The focus is truly on the disorder being created to form the titular new order. The characters are simply vessels for us to follow so we can see different locations where this is happening, not so much people trying to get back to each other who we can connect with on an emotional level and feel a deeper impact of the film’s themes and events. You simply find yourself lost, not inside, outside the film, watching the events unfold with no properly response apart from that to the horror that unfolds as the ever-increasing violence ensues.

The biggest issue with New Order is it’s bleak outlook and continual dark violence. Pushing away the viewer and stopping any connection being formed with it and it’s underdeveloped characters.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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