Monday, December 16, 2013

"The Purge": I wouldn't survive it myself

The horror film “The Purge” (2013) by James DeMonaco is based on the premise that, at some point in a dystopian future, for one night every year, twelve hours on the Spring equinox, all criminal laws are suspended in the country.  It’s pretty obvious what the set up can be; a home security salesman (Ethan Hawke) and his family have to survive an unusually cunning attack within their gated community.
   
The film (which is contained mercifully by 85 minutes) contains opening and closing fictitious news footage of the success of the “purge” as measured by the economy and lowering crime rate – by eliminating society’s “undersirables”.  At first, it sounds like the idea is to let the poor people eliminate one another (the feudal rich, like Hawke’s character James Sandin, can afford to protect themselves with guns and fortresses  legally), so society doesn’t have to take care of them. That may sound offensive enough, but as the movie progresses, and as we learn of the complexities of the plot against Sandin (a “homeless” man wandering in the enclave is a decoy), something even more sinister emerges.  We’re told that these twelve hours give all those who bear the brunt of an unfair world a chance to vent their frustration and anger.  But then  there is the idea that the “Purge” gets rid even of those members of the “decadent middle class” who can’t defend themselves, who are actually cowards or parasites.  Is this movie a right win or a left wing fantasy?  It seems like both.  Mao or Kin Jung Un might have been pleased.
   
In any case, even the gun-toting doomsday preppers need to beware.
   
   
The website is here. Warning: it will pull your leg.
 
There was a batch computer job where I worked once, "The Merge-Purge".  The proverb was "The Merge-Purge has no urge."
  
I missed the theatrical run this summer (I wonder why) and watched the Netflix DVD.  If you want all the extras, you might have to buy the Blu Ray.  But do you really want them?



 Pictures: suggestive of Army bivouac (mine).  

Update: April 28, 2015

Protesters in the looting in Baltimore claimed to be inspired by this movie when they sacked the Mandowmin Mall. (Baltimore Sun story). 

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