My Take On: The Purge

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It’s the year 2020. Unemployment and crime are at an all time low. The country seems to finally be at peace, minus one annual night the “New Founding Fathers” call The Purge. This 12- hour period grants citizens the right to do anything otherwise illegal the rest of the year, and face no repercussions. Emergency services are disabled. It is attributed to be a “success” and helps “cleanse the souls” of Americans, while eliminating “problems” such as the homeless and bottled up rage. But have no fear, because Mr. Sandin (Ethan Hawke) is here with his home alarm systems to protect your family! If you’re rich, that is. This is the setup of the new thriller (shall I call it horror? Who knows?) directed by James DeMonaco. The Sandin family predicts peace as usual this year, but all is set on another path when their young son, attempting to flex his moral muscle, lets in a bloody homeless man screaming for help. It’s obvious this is going to be a bumpy night when a group of creepy, masked richies show up at their house demanding to see the homeless man (who they wish to kill -and now) or they’re coming in. I won’t go into full detail of the following events, but I must say, it’s a whirlwind. The trailer didn’t even show half of the violence and terror that ensues when the group busts in the place. I had heard pretty shoody reviews of this film, but I have to say, my expectations were exceeded, which doesn’t happen very often. First off, I’m a sucker for futuristic movies where the government has the country right in their fist, and all is said to be great, but is far from it. The idea isn’t new. But the idea of the entire country sitting down one night a year with a bag of popcorn to watch others vandalize, kill, and set aflame half the nation? Fresh, and brilliantly so. Indeed, the usage of cat and mouse type scenes is typical, but the killing of the protagonist is not. When he dies, you truly get it. The family is not exempt, and never was. The polarizing of society between rich and poor is great when the rich prove money isn’t morals. When the neighbors decide to participate too, it’s obvious that although the economic and financial aspects of society are flourishing, mental health is in a crisis. Finally, Mrs. Sandin (Lena Headey) lets the neighbors go and proves that atleast some people haven’t forgotten to act human. It is with this idea that the film excels: Just because you can get away with something, is it right? Does anyone ever deserve to die? Just because the Purge is successful in containing crime to a single day, doesn’t make it right to contain crime. Animalistic behavior has no place in human society, where one person’s aid or advice can make the difference between life or death for another. We are never exempt if someone else is suffering. A kill for revenge, a kill for protection, a kill for someone you may call a stranger, are all murder with a thin cover. Make an immoral decision sitting down, or scare the shit out of your monster neighbors so as they can never live with themselves again? I think you know what’s right. Just be glad you won’t be receiving an invitation for a “Commencement Party” anytime soon. Your government thanks you.

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