Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Purge: Election Year

All crime is legal for 12 hours every year, allowing the rich to prey on the poor and the innocent. Charlie Roan knows first hand the damage the Purge can do after she witnessed her entire family killed in front of her. As a senator, she's running for president and advocating for the abolishment of Purge night, which angers the New Founding Fathers who directly profit off of its existence. So of course they decide to sabotage her security and kill her on Purge night. Can Charlie live long enough to see election day in the face of a hostile group with deep pockets, plenty of resources, and no qualms over murder?

The Purge: Election Year takes some themes and situations from our own political events then makes them over the top and satirical. Charlie is a clear reflection of Bernie Sanders made young and attractive. Both promise changes for minorities and the poor. Both come from outside establishment and advocate for their views through their actions. Charlie makes an effort to talk to all of her supporters away from her security. She chooses to stay at her own home during the Purge to prove a point and will made every effort to win the election the legal way. Her portrayal is a bit over the top as she starts criticizing someone who just saved her life over their tactics toward the same goal. The New Founding Fathers and their cronies are completely over the top. They are all rich, male, old, Christian, racist, and sexist. They color their hatred and greed with religion to justify it, much like Republicans do today. Of course these people are literally making human sacrifices in church and are the most one dimensional evil characters ever. The film captures the fanaticism and the vitriol I see from that side of the political spectrum.

This film takes what other Purge films did and makes it more interesting and at times more extreme. As always, the murder montages are shown with striking and disturbing images. The best clips are women dancing around corpses hanging from a tree, an old woman primly seated watching a body burn on the sidewalk, and an epicly large guillotine. I wanted to see way more of the guillotine. It takes so much time to make and it's so visually dramatic, but it only had 5 seconds of screen time. Some Purgers get clever and pretend to be dead to surprise passersby. The camouflage is genius. Another group of particularly spoiled teens take the opposite tactic and cover their car complete with Christmas lights, daring anyone to approach. People from Europe decide to visit during the Purge for some murder tourism. They dress up in American patriotic gear and happily murder some people. It's insane, but makes sense in this world. The masks and outfits are extra creepy this time. I like to think of these people slaving over their outfits like cosplayers going to a convention because their so excited.

Each Purge movie has such potential. The concept is strong, but the details around it are fuzzy. I've always wanted to see exactly how the New Founding Fathers come into power, but it's not in this movie. I'm always a bit disappointed. This film does a little too much manufactured sob stories to elicit emotion. It felt out of place and manipulative. The pacing isn't always the best and people don't always take the most logical actions. Some characters are completely unnecessary. I would definitely see more Purge films. The films keep getting better and better as it goes along. I hope they keep the ideas fresh and keep pushing the envelope. I especially appreciated how timely the film is in skewering our current state of politics.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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