Mexican class-warfare drama has brutality, sexual violence.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that New Order is a gripping, dramatic thriller about class rebellion in Mexico. When the rebels take to the streets, they rape and pillage their way through affluent neighborhoods, kidnapping people and holding them hostage to collect ransom. When wealthy Marianne (Naian González Norvind) is captured, her loved ones risk their lives to save her. Expect graphic brutality and sexual violence throughout. Many characters are held at gunpoint and shot to the ground, and shots of naked corpses include bare breasts and buttocks. Other violence includes punching, rough shoving, beating with baseball bats, body shocks, burning, hanging, forced kissing, forced oral sex, and scenes of naked bodies being thrown to the ground and hosed down. Other mature content includes occasional use of words like "f--k" and "s--t," as well as drinking and cigarette smoking by adults. While some characters display perseverance and courage in the face of mistreatment, the movie's overwhelming themes are violence and cruelty.
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What's the Story?
In NEW ORDER (Nuevo Orden), a young Mexican couple celebrates their wedding at their family's mansion, where there's a clear class division between the lighter-skinned wedding guests and the darker-skinned house staff. An elderly man who used to work at the house comes to the front gate in distress. His wife is ill, and he doesn't have the money to pay for her surgery, so he asks the family for money. Some oblige him, and others demand that he leave the property. Bride Marianne (Naian González Norvind), who has fond memories of the old man, decides to sneak away to the hospital and pay for the surgery in full. As she stealthily exits the festivities with a member of the house staff as her driver, the rebellion in the city escalates. The family's mansion is raided, and Marianne seeks safety at her driver's home, where she's eventually captured and held hostage. Marianne and countless others are robbed, assaulted, and kept in cages. The family enlists the government to help find Marianne, but the driver is approached directly by the rebels, who ask for large sums of money in exchange for Marianne's freedom. In a society where the trust among classes is fractured, the characters must work to distinguish their prejudice from real threat.
Is It Any Good?
At a time when the divide between classes is increasingly pronounced, this thriller explores a gripping, albeit gory, possibility of class warfare. Visually, New Order is slick and rich, the performances honest and gripping. On the surface, the story depicts a classic damsel in distress -- i.e. the blonde, light-skinned Marianne -- who needs rescuing. To save her life, the family needs to shell out a huge ransom, which they're willing to pay. But when the old man asked the family for far less to pay for the surgery that would save his wife's life, they weren't willing to give it to him, a situation that clearly suggests they don't think the lives of the poor are worth as much as the lives of the rich.
At first, there's something compelling about the poor taking what's owed to them in the form of jewelry and cash. But Marianne's mistreatment in captivity is violent and disturbing. And when it comes to the rebels repeatedly assaulting women (presumably, the affluent, light-skinned women they could never be with), it starts to feel fetishizing and overindulgent. But the story shifts when two lower-class house staffers are approached to facilitate Marianne's release. They bravely risk their lives to bring money through checkpoints to save the young woman they got to know and love while working at her family's house. That family, however, is mistrusting and prejudiced against them -- and so, unknowingly, against their own interests. In the end, these characters must ask themselves: Is there ever any benefit to helping the wealthy? And can trust be earned where there's no respect?
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what New Order has to say about class differences. How do the rich and poor view each other in this film? What does that lead to?
What do you think the filmmakers were trying to say here about the relationship between the rich and the poor?
How do you feel about the violence in New Order? Was it gratuitous or necessary to the story?
Did you notice the movie's colorism? How does that undermine the potential positive impact of a title's diverse representations?
- In theaters: May 21, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: May 21, 2021
- Cast: Diego Boneta, Naian González Norvind, Fernando Cuautle
- Director: Michel Franco
- Studio: Neon
- Genre: Drama
- Character Strengths: Courage
- Run time: 86 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: disturbing and violent content, rape, graphic nudity, and language
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
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