The Purge

Why are they all wearing masks to
look like the guy from Aphex Twin?
"Survive the night."

Hey everyone welcome to a new week at The Tagline! Is there... anyone still out there? I guess even the most dedicated can't care about my crappy taste in movies all the time, but alas THAT WILL NOT STOP THE TIDE, nothing can stop the irresistible deluge of garbage that I will churn out into the ether. Today I will be talking about when you take home invasion to the A league. I'm talking about The Purge, a film that takes a look into what is probably the near future of America. The basic premise is that in a near-future America wracked by crime and unemployment and other problems that we have in abundant supply right now, the government decides to implement the purge. What is that? Well a bunch of reprobate social scientists decide that humans are just such violent fucks that they can't exist without a release valve involving committing insane acts of violence. To help alleviate this need, the government institutes a once a year 12-hour window where all crimes are legal and all emergency services are suspended. They of course make provisions for super rich people and the government folks (if you try and kill them it's lights out for you) but otherwise it's basically open season. Some people suspect that this system is just a means of keeping the poor down and killing off the unemployed and homeless, and other unseemly demographics, but fortunately no one cares because people are all fucking animals anyway. If you're sitting there thinking "no way that would never happen!" Well... I'm glad you feel that way. 

Oh, hey Denny.
Anyway the movie proper is actually less of a dystopic film and more of a home invasion movie, involving a family that includes a home security salesman James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) and his wife Mary (the ever lovely and talented Lena Headey). Along for the ride are his two children Zoey and Charlie, the latter looking like he's doing his best to dress up as a little Tommy Wiseau. Anyway, their tacit participation in the massacre of the poor is going swell, with them safely inside their gated community on lockdown, until young Charlie, seeing a wounded man begging for help in the street, lets the man in. This is all well and fine, but that guy is being pursued by a very large gang of upper class teenagers who are really into committing murder in a gruesome way, and are not pleased that their homeless victim has eluded them. They give the Sandins a span of time to deliver the poor bastard alive outside, and state that afterwards they will be coming in to party hearty. After waffling about whether he's going to send the man out to die, and after causing him considerable injury, James finally realizes that what he's doing is fucking nutsy coocoo, and so instead gears up with the guns he has so that they can prepare for the assault. He does not for some reason see fit to cut loose the homeless guy, who is left duct taped to a goddamned chair.

Fuck this guy.
What follows is a predictable bloodbath, involving a lot of people being savagely killed, as the Sandin's attempt to survive this thoroughly fucked up experience. Naturally this event causes everyone to question the justness and sanity of having a national murder day. The ending also highlights maybe some of the problems I had with the overall premise as well. Now I totally accept the possibility that the government might push something like this to massacre the poor and improve the economy. I also allow that a lot of people would gleefully participate in the wholesale slaughter of their fellows. What I DON'T believe, is that this society would continue to function for very long with this arrangement. I don't believe this because I don't think murder is a switch you turn on for 12 hours and then turn off until next year. Once you start killing people for petty shit, I imagine that's a tough habit to kick. On the flip side, if I know for a fact that my neighbor murdered a whole bunch of people last month because it helped him to mellow out or some shit... I'm not going to be super comfortable hanging out with that guy anymore. Call me crazy, but there's just something about a guy who will kill you at the drop of a hat all crazy and glassy eyed that makes me not want to be at that fellow's barbecue.

She dressed up for a slasher flick.
Other than that I think this movie is another interesting twist on home invasion, and also a fine examination of how generally reprehensible human beings are. It doesn't do a TON of new stuff with the genre, but enough so that I am paying attention to the sequel, and actually looking forward to it a fair bit. The upcoming Purge sequel Anarchy is taking it to the streets, and I think that will give the movie room to play without trapping it in the home invasion mold. Also maybe next time you're planning your super awesome hunker down for assault town USA, have a hidden panic room that's lined with titanium and not just some metal shutters on your doors you dumb fucks.

That's it for today! Join me again on Thursday for building block adventures.

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