Tuesday, July 15, 2014

3 Short Paragraphs: The Purge

2013, James DeMonaco -- download

I have a short list (long) of movies I remind myself I want to see. For some reason, I never get around to seeing many of them. I download some, but they sit on the HDD. I add some to my Netflix list but they sit there, passed over time and again. The other day, I went through the list, and the HDD and chose one. I am glad I did.

I hesitated watching The Purge because it is a speculative film about a very bleak concept. In the near future, the US is almost crime free. Peaceful. Their solution, instituted by a very Christian government (one nation under god), was one night to purge all negative feelings like jealousy, rage, anger, upset, etc. On this one night anything is OK, nothing is illegal. Some people hide behind locked doors, others step outside and do whatever the fuck they want -- they kill, rape, assault, steal, burn... whatever comes to mind. No police no ambulances no fire brigade. And in the morning, they move on with their lives. That sounds horrible, doesn't it? But the results are evident: crime is low, the economy is booming and employment is almost non existent. That is this world. And I thought the movie would wrap itself in the bleakness and savour it. It doesn't.

Ethan Hawke sells security systems, so wealthy people can hide in their big houses and wait out the Purge. He is happy, his family is normal. His neighbours are jealous but safe behind the walls he sold them. He supports the Purge because of what it gives him and what it has given his nation. But like most people, he really hasn't experienced it first hand. This night he does as his idealistic son lets a homeless into their house to hide. And his pursuers, amoral youth who revel in the night, want him. We find out how useless the security really is, how the whole system benefits the wealthy while purging the unwanted and we find out how committed Hawke is to the night. Its a movie that presents the moral grays and then takes a stance, in story and in action. So, we are given a violent thriller (we all love violence) but one with a message to consider, and a side to take.