Friday, June 7, 2013

The Purge [USA, 2013]

Nine Things About the Movie The Purge

1. Despite how it is advertised, this is not a horror movie. The sooner you realize this, the better.

2. This is a dark, violent, well-acted, and uncomfortable allegory about the American class system.

3. The movie takes place over a span of 13 hours. Ethan Hawke plays a well-meaning, but rather rigid, father that lives in a very wealthy gated community with his family. They settle into their home for the evening behind their state-of-the-art security system to keep out of The Purge. The Purge is a night where all crime is legal. This is designed to let Americans vent their frustration, anger, and violent impulses, so that the rest of the year everyone can get along better. Anyway, the two kids end up compromising the security of their house, and the family must defend their lives from psycho college students who want things the family has.

3 There are some parts of the movie that, at first, seem dumb or unrealistic. But if you look at those instances as metaphor, the whole movie unlocks and begins to make sense.

4. This movie is less concerned with telling an actual story, and more concerned with examining issues of entitlement, envy, the dangers of using God as a foundation of patriotism, and the deep dehumanization of others (as well as the self) that is required to keep those things going.

5. The home-invasion thriller part of the movie is well-acted and has some surprises.

6. There is a lot of violence in this movie, but not like some people expect. It is not about showing rampant carnage so that the audience can experience their own Purge vicariously. The epic idea of the movie is scaled way down to become an intimate experience. This disappointed a lot of people.

7. This movie is not about the Purge, but about the reactions and consequences to living with such a system as The Purge.

8. It's about the self-deception that the wealthy engage in when they say "Things like that don't happen in our neighborhood". It's about the intrinsic instability that roils under the calm surface of the upper class, and how they really are like piranhas, tearing apart anything they see as prey - even if it is each other.

9. The Purge is a suspenseful and thoughtful morality tale that makes a depressing case about human nature. The more you think about it, the more impressive it is.