Film Review: Executive Order

Capitu. Antônio and André

The last couple of decades have seen a worrying jolt to the right in world politics. Especially in countries where you’d not necessarily expect it. With religious fundamentalists and extreme nationalists trying to role back decades of hard-won rights for women and minority groups. This is often done under the banner of ‘democracy’ but in countries like Brazil any entitlements are tenuous, at best. Executive Order follows this to its logical conclusion.

In a near future Brazil, the authoritarian regime has set up a new government department to facilitate the voluntary return of all citizens of Black descent to Africa. A young human rights attorney Antônio (Alfred Enoch) challenges this through the courts, whilst his best friend André (Seu Jorge), a journalist, openly mocks this new policy. When a decree is implemented to make this mandatory, they shelter in their apartment, but his partner Capitu (Taís Araújo) is stranded outside somewhere.

Executive Order is a chilling reminder of where societies could end up if we keep placing populism ahead of people. Lázaro Ramos’ film is a thoughtful and taut drama which takes a swipe at the prevailing political trends within Brazil through a science fiction framing. The obvious budgetary limitations are navigated well and as it morphs into a thriller Executive Order remembers to take the audience along. It’s a very current and vital piece of filmmaking.

Executive Order will be released on digital platforms in the UK on 18 July.

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