Chicago Film Fest 2020: New Order Review

Chicago Film Fest 2020: New Order Review

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Chicago Film Fest, to keep up with our latest coverage, click here.

When trying to tell a high-minded dystopian story, films generally pick social ills to critique and attempt to do so in a thoughtful and clever manner. New Order is such a film. But when the film can’t make up its mind about its themes and who it wants to target, it induces more anger than sympathy. The story concerns the fancy wedding at the home of Marian (Norvind) and her upper crust family. But then a group of poor people invade the premises and start causing havoc. And amidst the wider riots and chaos in the city streets, the army stages a coup to establish a military dictatorship. A great deal of violence and bloodshed ensues.

Pointing out how rich people live to excess is a common and valid societal criticism. But New Order makes the rich people sympathetic and makes almost all the poor people to be animalistic savages. Criticizing the fascistic power wielded by military forces is another usual target. This aspect succeeds better, depicting the soldiers as kidnapping people, stealing their valuables, raping men and women, and being generally murderous. However, their depiction could be described as so inhuman as to be unbelievable.

And then there’s New Order‘s racial politics. Marianne is a white Mexican brutalized by dark skinned Mexicans. When the issue of racism was brought up by people in Mexico, writer/director Michael Franco claimed, as a White Mexican himself, he was the victim of hate crimes and (non-existent) reverse racism. Combined with the film’s thematic confusion, this tone deafness is so bizarre.

As a result of the film’s indecisiveness, its themes are muddled and buried so deep in nonsense as to render it worthy only of being used as an example of what not to do. New Order is just a baffling mess.

still courtesy of TIFF

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