New Order is cynical. New Order is nihilist. New Order doesn’t take much of a side. It gives the characters almost no agency. Instead it looks as class forces as something perpetuated by the state and any change as being undermined by systems designed to keep the powerful in power.
The film begins with provocative, abstract images. Bodies are covered in blood and green paint. As protests loom large over a city, the rich celebrate, literally separated from the outside by walls and guards. As the world burns, the rich party. The ice cold of the bourgeoisie cares more for cocktails than healthcare for the poor. Then the film takes an unexpected turn
New Order is about the beginnings of a dystopia. It is a film of heartless violence that is deeply uncaring and unpleasant. People are dehumanised to their monetary value, their wealth determining how expendable they are. So much of New Order is littered in confusion. The entire narrative is just the periphery of something greater. The army on the streets and screams in the background have no thorough explanation. Instead the people are subjugated, while the naïve rich and the powerful authorities collude to keep power while trying to deceive one another.
New Order is grim and gross. It is not an easy watch. It’s like Parasite meets Salò, pairing service sector capitalism with police state fascism (one and the same?). It’s like a Haneke film, but a lot less clever in its unpicking of society. This is a blunt instrument, exploring a type of unrelenting evil with a sledgehammer, not a scalpel. It’s not about individual wrongs, it’s about the mass evil of the sum total of us all. No reason is given as to why evil unfolds in New Order, but the audience doesn’t need to know the reason. We should all know that the balance that runs society is forever on the precipice. A Mexican flag waves in the wind, but a hypothetical like this could be set almost anywhere.
The disc’s only extra is a Q&A with director Michel Franco and Naian González Norvind.