Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Purge

In 2022, the government reserves one night a year where almost all crime is completely legal. That's 12 hours of complete freedom to rape, murder, steal, etc. The rest of the days of the year, the society is damn near utopic with extremely low crime and unemployment rates. James Sandin devoted to his family and has made a sizable fortune selling security systems specifically to keep families safe from the Purge. He and his family always hole up for the night and wait for it to be over, but this year is different. His son takes pity on a homeless man and allows him into their house. Some random hooligans were hunting him and now demand him back or they will kill the family instead. James has to decide which is more important, the life of a stranger or the lives of his family.

I love the concept for The Purge. There are New Founding Fathers who have enacted this policy in order to allow for a practically crime and unemployment free America. I really wanted to know more about these powerful men, how they came to me known as such, and what state of events led to the legalizing of one night of legalized crime. The aim of it seems to be to let people let off steam and to rid the streets of undesirables (the poor, homeless, and nonwhite) at the same time. The quality of life of the people improves without the government having to actually do anything productive like providing more jobs or funding public programs to help the needy. They just get rid of the class of people that actually needs help. Unfortunately, none of these concepts are really explored in depth and, beyond a few small things, the film is largely a typical home invasion film that offers nothing new to the genre.

There are a couple things in the film that comment on society and brought some intrigue to the film. James Sandin is a capitalist through and through, the top seller of security at his work  Unfortunately, the security quality is quite low and doesn't actually withstand a lot of abuse despite its high price tag. The libertarian policies of his company bite him in the ass and leads to his own home being vulnerable to attack. He knew the security was crap and that didn't stop him from selling to hundreds of people and installing it in his own home. Who knows how many other people died as a result of the shoddy workmanship and corporate greed. The homeless man is the only person who is poor and not privileged in the film. He is treated as an animal and a possession by those more affluent. It might have been more interesting to have the story center around more than one person who would actually be affected by the Purge rather than a rich white family that acts supremely stupid at every turn.

The rest of the the film is your standard home invasion film. The attackers have creepy masks (a la The Strangers) and terrorize the family. They were actually pretty decent at being deranged. The family run around like chickens with their heads cut off and make the dumbest decisions on the face of the planet throughout the film. It would have been nice for them to make a decision about the homeless guy and stick with it instead of flip flopping every two seconds. I didn't really feel any sympathy for the family because they directly benefited from scamming people and the Purge plus they were boring. They were frankly getting what was coming to them.

The ending had some humor to it, but the film was overall a disappointment. The backstory was so interesting yet completely ignored after it generally set up the rules of the world. I would like to see a sequel or prequel that delves into the history behind it and focuses on the people who are actually victimized during the Purge.

My rating: 6/10 fishmuffins

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