Socialist Worker

Brilliant dystopian thriller where money reigns supreme

A rich woman is forced into turmoil as violent uprisings and coups surround her. It’s a stark reminder of the realities in Latin America, says Fran Yepes

Issue No. 2766

Marianne on her a mission to escape violence.

Marianne on her a mission to escape violence. (Pic: Teorema Films)


Mexican thriller New Order follows a dystopian narrative with a very real twist of reality embedded.

The narrative follows a violent insurgency that develops into a military coup, something which is very much based on reality for many living in Latin America.

The film opens during a lavish ­wedding of two rich families disrupted by a former worker begging for money for his wife’s heart surgery.

We see their callousness when they refuse to give the man the money he needs.

Everyone gets caught up in the violent protests except for the bride, Marianne, who chooses to drive to the former worker’s house to help his wife.

The rest of the film follows Marianne’s journey of multiple ­hardships. We watch as all her power is stolen by money-hungry soldiers.

The film’s cinematography features incredible use of establishing long shots. The camera itself is hardly ever inside the action but instead takes a more documentary-style, ‘fly on the wall’ position.

This makes us feel helpless, just made to watch. It’s something many of us relate to when we see police brutality on the news.

Throughout the film we see the colour green. Protestors wear green face paint and there’s green graffiti on the rich’s property.

The prominent use of the colour represents money. Green as a symbol used to destroy the rich creates an element of irony.

It can also be perceived as the ­uselessness of money in the face of mass uprisings. The colour green has an even deeper significance for Latin Americans as it relates to the beginnings of US imperialism.

During colonisation, US soldiers were referred to as “the greens”. This was the colour of their money and uniform.

This is where the phrase “gringos” originates—from indigenous people saying, “Green go,” to the Americans invading their land.

This strong use of symbolism in combination with the shocking visceral imagery gives the film lots of layers to unfold. The director, Michel Franco, did a wonderful job of pulling me into the world of the film with excellent use of symbolism, skilled actors and sound design.

The camera techniques fostered a feeling of detachment to characters but the sound design created an immersive atmosphere.

The film includes a lot of background noise that creates a real sense of chaos. The viewer can never focus just on the foreground action.

There were some aspects of the film I felt were gratuitously violent. But this did add to the overall emotional experience of the film. The violence was always linked to the desire and pursuit of money.

There is a real sense of helplessness watching this film and every time you feel hope it is quickly shattered.

It’s an unfortunate commentary on how many can feel in the capitalist world we live in, where violence and money reign supreme and acts of humanity are scarce.

New Order, directed by Michel Franco, is in cinemas from Friday 13 August and available to stream at mubi.com from 10 September

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