Michel Franco’s New Order won the Grand Jury Prize in Venice and is now causing quite a stir at the London Film Festival.
The revolution will not be televised but it will be shown in cinemas and streamed at home. “Revolution is not a dinner party” said Mao Tsu-Tung and on the evidence of this film, it is not a wedding either. As a high-society wedding is interrupted by the arrival of unwelcome guests. Becoming the touch paper that lights a violent battle for supremacy and survival.
It has been touted as the “Mexican Parasite” and it is easy to see why. The plot sees the underclasses rising up against their wealthy employers at a social gathering set within a beautifully designed house.
Sadly however, this lacks any of the nuance, surprise or power of the Oscar winner.
As John Doe remarked in Se7en, “Wanting people to listen, you can’t just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you’ll notice you’ve got their strict attention.” It is fair to say that Franco’s film has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer as it tears down the old and establishes its preverbial New Order.
This is deeply ugly, angry and brutal film. Scenes of brutal violence, rape and torture will likely turn viewers off and become disengaged with the story.
The main issue with the film is framing the events from the point of view of the wealthy family. Yes, what happens to them is awful there is no denying that. However by having the perpetrators and revolutionists reduced to faceless and voiceless antogonists, there is no way to understand their motivation. What are they looking to achieve through their actions?
At least in Dark Knight Rises, the character of Bane gave a voice to those rising up against the elite. Even if it did turn out he was manipulating the 99% as well.
As a result, there are no sympathetic or redeeming characters, the politics is very muddled and any message it wishes to convey is drowned out by the violence.
New Order is a short, sharp shock to the system. Albeit a deeply unpleasant one with no redeeming features.
Director: Michel Franco
Stars: Samantha Yazareth Anaya, Dario Yazbek Bernal, Patricia Bernal
Runtime: 88 minutes