Michel Franco, as an artist with a critical, socially involved sensitivity, made himself known to a wider audience with Chronic from 2015, which was awarded at many festivals. The Mexican director took to the workshop the story of the attendant (perfect role by Tim Roth), who looks after the terminally ill. How different the story of a man absorbed deeper and deeper by the pains of his work and more and more emotional relations with patients seems to be compared to the plot of Franco’s new film, New Order.
A dystopian vision of the disintegrating world of social classes, in which the people finally take matters into their own hands, taking brutal revenge on the elite, but it has a similar structure to Chronic – Franco is not limited by aestheticism and politeness, as he is not afraid of blood, skillfully using the genre (thriller) tools, modeling the movie with tension, consistently striving for climax and solution. In New Order the tension results from the class struggle, in Chronic it results from the internal conflict and relations with the sick.
New Order is a frighteningly up-to-date film, after all, the thriller dynamics fits perfectly into the everyday life of all those who live in conflict with the state and harmful social systems that do not affect only the privileged. This systems are aspiring to more and more absurd control over the individual. Examples of similar conflicts, with varying degrees of inflammation, can be found in every corner of the modern world. How right and how satisfying the bloody revenge of the people feels!
Franco is brutal, but what for some will be a portrayal of violence just for the sake of naturalistic ecstasy, is more than that in the Mexican’s work – the director deconstructs the mechanism of group anger and warns of the consequences of such attitudes. Aggression that stem from unbridled greed and vengeance. The people delighting in sadism, vandalism, the destruction and theft of property do not think with big ideas, but with animal instinct. They are as consumerist as the rich elite in the film. Under the influence of this violence, the conflict has no other way – it escalates.
Only the main character, Marianne – yes, the name matters here – seems to be really honest in her actions. She leaves her own wedding to help a former employee. But this act of help (revolutionary against the background of the actions of other characters) is lost under the great wave of a ruffled revolution – something that comes too late, with too little power, to become anything more than the whim of a rich girl’s pity.
Franco shows that the violent escalation of the conflict gives a voice to the most primitive instincts – on both sides, although manifested differently – ultimately leading to a situation much worse than the status quo. New Order is an important lesson – let us go to the barricades not with the desire for revenge, but with the desire for change, leaving a bloody promise only as a warning.