New Order (CREDIT: NEON)

Starring: Diego Boneta, Naian González Norvind, Samantha Yazareth Anaya, Dario Yazbek Bernal, Eligio Meléndez

Director: Michael Franco

Running Time: 88 Minutes

Rating: R for Violence, Nudity, and Torture

Release Date: May 21, 2021 (Limited)

New Order at first looks like it’s going to be a nice story about a high-society wedding, but then soon enough there’s a mass rape scene that doesn’t give you any time to get your bearings. Well, I suppose it was never going to be a nice story. It takes a little while for the violence to arrive, but before it does, we’re witness to an especially angst-ridden ceremony. An elderly man named Rolando (Eligio Meléndez) needs 200,000 pesos for a heart operation for his wife, so he shows up to the wedding, as it’s being thrown by a family he used to work for. He’s mostly treated as a nuisance, but the young bride Marianne (Naian González Norvind) actually cares enough to step out from her own nuptials and help deliver Rolando’s wife to where she needs to go. Meanwhile, protesters are crowding the streets of Mexico City and full-blown revolution is only one gunshot away.

I’ll admit to a fair amount of ignorance about the social status quo in Mexico, but as a cinematic experience, I don’t think that matters too much. New Order is plainly miserable no matter what context you’re aware of. It didn’t have to be that way. The first 30 minutes promise a fascinating mix of high society satire, social commentary, and running-against-the-clock thriller. But then Marianne and a bunch of other people are taken hostage, and we’re forced to endure them being relentlessly tortured. And then we’re forced to endure that some more, and it all just feels so empty. At first, I cared about what would happen to Marianne and Rolando and his wife, but that investment just frittered away unceremoniously.

Also, there’s a visual motif about green paint that had me going, “What’s the deal?!” (I never figured out what the deal was.)

New Order is Recommended If You Like: Salo-level torture

Grade: 2 out of 5 Pesos