A film that’s designed to terrify audiences with a political mindset
NEW ORDER (2021)
A film that’s designed to terrify audiences with a political mindset that’s eerily realistic, Michael Franco’s New Order has an almost Purge-like temperament as it weighs up the suffering and injustice of the “haves” and “have nots”. There’s a, for lack of a better word, entertaining narrative at hand here, but Franco is wise to pepper this with a societal agenda that demands conversation.
Michael Franco has an evident knack for crafting tension and bringing out the best of his performers. With New Order’s narrative an easy set-up to give way to exaggerated performances - its political themes and kidnapping subplot both targets for over-dramatised material - it’s a testament to Franco that everything remains in-check and largely organic. This is a film that wants to test its audience’s views, and Franco does so with a brutal ease.
Though there’s challenging ideals at bay, New Order still manages to craft a thrilling mainstream-adjacent plot-line that leans into its social commentary. Centred around the wealthy Marianne (Naian Gonzalez Norvind) and her impending nuptials, the high society big-wigs at her ceremony show little regard for the violent protests that are taking place outside. It’s a very upstairs/downstairs setting, and when a former employee storms the venue and the protestors work towards the overthrowing of the 1% - hence the title - the film gradually adopts a more disturbing personality as it showcases the desperation from all parties involved.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Najan Gonzalez Norvind is undoubtedly New Order’s MVP. A role that easily could have slipped out of a lesser actress’s hands, her Marianne is a likeable presence who is unfortunately swept up in an environment she clearly is too pure for her. The gradual horror that surrounds her is suitably conveyed as the realisation of her predicament grows stronger over the film’s taut 88 minutes.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Offsetting the elegance of the wealthy with the griminess of reality, Franco creates a visual treat where he can. The story’s setting reflecting the class system in a manner that elevates a rather simple backdrop.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The performances and crafted tension throughout are assisted by appropriate sound design that continues the film’s unnerving personality.
A bold film that should evoke discussion, however negative, New Order presents a world that may not be too far from reality, should we not truly pay attention. Expertly acted and impossibly tense, the film’s narrative simplicity only further assists Franco in raising the issues he’s so clearly passionate about.
NEW ORDER will release on May 21st in Theaters