BFI #LFF 2020: NEW ORDER (Nuevo Orden) Film Review

Naian González Norvind and Fernando Cuautle in Nuevo orden (2020)

Violent and nihilistic, Michel Franco’s latest drama NEW ORDER is a riveting and suspenseful dystopian drama that resonates in these deeply troubling times

4 out of 5 stars

Michel Franco’s latest drama NEW ORDER marks a stark departure from the stylistic austerity and character-driven work of his previous films AFTER LUCIA and CHRONIC.

Best described as a suspenseful dystopian drama, NEW ORDER’s initial gaze is set on a luxurious home in Mexico City, where a wealthy white family is throwing a private wedding ceremony. Marianne (Naian González Norvind), daughter of a wealthy businessman, has just married budding architect Alan (Darío Yazbek). Elsewhere in the city, riots intensify but the family continues to turn a blind eye, confident it will not affect them. But when demonstrators show up at their door, the “elites” get the rude wakeup call. Their house is ransacked, guests are robbed, shot and killed, leaving both the rich – and the poor – trying to survive in a new, dystopian world.

Violent and nihilistic, Franco’s NEW ORDER is a punishing, cynical view of present-day uprisings and military control. Franco hurtles through the unfolding action at a breathless pace, his bold, widescreen compositions and nervy editing, heightening the film’s unpredictability. This unflinching piece is full of shocking, jarring moments, that will keep viewers both glued to the screen and completely unsettled.

The film is rooted in superb performances, with Naian Gonzalez Norvind as Marianne, in particular standing out. Her despair throughout is palpable in her expressions and body language. Monica Del Carmen is also wrenching as Marta, a devoted domestic caught in the literal crossfire.

Yet, NEW ORDER is not a film for the faint-hearted. From the outset, it contains scenes of graphic violence which may be a bitter pill to digest for some viewers. Be prepared to be shocked and shaken as a new order strives to impose itself. The acts of violence are brutal and sadistic, but Franco delivers this in such a riveting manner that you absolutely cannot turn away.

Unapologetically violent, blatantly graphic and unrelentingly bleak, NEW ORDER is a dystopian shocker that resonates in these deeply troubling times. It is also arguably Franco’s most accomplished film to date.

NEW ORDER screens at the BFI London Film Festival on 16 October 2020