The Purge: Anarchy
The Purge: Anarchy is a politically savvy horror film that has meaning whether you embrace it or not. Few such films cause you to think while you are covering your eyes.
The Purge: Anarchy is a very violent movie that mocks much of what haunts present day America. Undeniably entertaining, we once again confront the fiction that the new leaders of our Federal government have passed a law that gives everyone a free pass 12 hours out of each year to commit any vicious act they desire.
Taking place in 2023, every March 21st, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., it was better for most Americans to stay safely confined in your own home. This was the seventh year of the national Purge, and the U.S. government proudly announced that unemployment was at a record low while the entire prison population had shrunk dramatically. In other words, those championing a smaller federal government were successful in authorizing a program where welfare costs were cut because we were simply killing the poor.
Like I noted in the review of the first film released last year, this movie turns the philosophy of arch conservatives on its head. If you can’t reduce government spending because the poor would die of malnutrition, why not just kill them and be rid of the whole problem?
Ethan Hawke was memorable in the first film, and Frank Grillo is quite good here as a loner on a mission to kill centered on an unnamed family tragedy. In the process, he bumps in to a young Hispanic mother and daughter and a couple whose marriage is on the brink of collapse, saving all 4 of them from certain death. As noted, the film has a raw edge that produced genuine tension to the very end.
I should note that Mr. Grillo is a talented actor who looks like the spittin’ image of Christian Bales’ brother in this movie. In addition, he has been in a series of interesting, highly entertaining movies, which includes this year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Zero Dark Thirty (2012), The Grey and Warrior, both in 2011. Keep an eye on him.
Furthermore, as we watch our country today evolve in to a society that accepts growing income inequality, this movie centers on a ghastly sequence where the wealthy attend a large dinner party where hired bandits bring the poor on to the stage, where they are about to be executed. Dressed as if they are attending a Washington political event, the patrons enjoy excellent food and wine while they auction off the proposed victims to the highest bidder.
Like it or not, this is a powerful metaphor that means something to anyone paying attention. Everyone in this country has to pay taxes that are fair, and that includes the wealthy. That didn’t happen in the Middle Ages and we ended up with a feudal society where everyone worked for a pittance on property owned by the powerful landlord.
If we want our children to live in a society that is fair, compassionate and equitable, we can’t urge them to repeat life in Europe in the 15th century. Government exists so that all Americans are ensured the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Before attacking the foundations of our Government, we should remember that simple fact.