A brilliant evocation of a dystopian world, The Purge tells of a future America in which the “New Founding Fathers” have implemented a national night of catharsis, “the Purge”, on which all crime, murder included, is allowed to be committed with absolute impunity, all emergency services being suspended.  Otherwise peaceful and productive citizens are allowed to release their inner demons, their pent-up frustrations and hatreds, with the result that crime of the everyday variety has been drastically reduced for the rest of the year.  One reason for this is that the poor, who presumably commit crimes only from privation, are disproportionately the victims of the annual Purge because they cannot afford the home security systems that keep well-to-do non-participants safe.   (The Purge thus stubbornly perpetuates the mistaken notion that poverty levels rather than racial makeup are a more accurate predictor of rates of crime.)  Consequently, unemployment has also been virtually eradicated, with the low-skilled and unproductive segments of the population being periodically weeded as a kind of collective sacrificial Negro.

The national night of helter skelter has naturally been a lucrative boon to the private security industry and in particular salesman and suburbanite James Sandin (Ethan Hawke), who has made a mint selling home armoring systems to his neighbors and has been able to afford an addition to his house.  Unfortunately, his success has also given rise to resentment in the community.  The Sandins are accustomed to locking down for the night and not participating – at least actively – in the annual Purge; but that changes when their teenage son (Max Burkholder) sees a black man (Edwin Hodge) in distress in the street and without consulting his father disarms the home security system long enough to allow the stranger to come inside.  Borrowing an idea from John Carpenter’s classic Assault on Precinct 13 (of which Purge writer-director James DeMonaco wrote the screenplay of the remake), a pack of masked Purgers then besieges the Sandin home, demanding that their human quarry be returned to them, or else that the Sandins themselves will become the marauders’ victims.

Reminiscent of Death Race 2000 in pointing to national ritual and sport as both a source and a valve for suppressed violent impulses in the American people, The Purge nonetheless creates an original and frightening world straight out of schlockumentarian Michael Moore’s most delirious nightmares.  Prospective viewers generally but pants-pissing dumb white liberals particularly are therefore advised to anticipate an hour-and-a-half’s worth of razor-edge suspense and accelerated heartbeats. Devilishly conceived and cleverly constructed, The Purge, notwithstanding its sociological idiocy, is the best film of the year thus far and heralds potentially great and wonderful things for creator James DeMonaco.

5 stars.  Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Purge is:

7. Pro-miscegenation.  Two of the Sandins’ neighbors are miscegenators.

6. Antiwar.  The hunted stranger, a homeless black man, wears dog tags, an indicator that America has not always been kind to its veterans and also a reminder of the myth that that blacks have borne a disproportionate burden of America’s casualties in conflicts like the Vietnam war.

5. Anti-gun.  For the opening credits montage of surveillance camera violence, 1992 footage of armed Korean shopkeepers defending their property against the African savagery of the Rodney King riots has been repurposed as a vilification of gun owners.  The Purge does depict gun owners defending themselves, but also being victimized by guns and having their own weapons taken from them.  In one scene, Mr. Sandin is choked with his own gun.

4. Noncommittally statist.  The Purge cautions viewers about the self-interested intentions of utopia-touting governments, with lawmakers serving lobbies and exempting themselves from their own decrees, but the film is itself a de facto statist statement in its implied endorsement of gun control and the welfare state.  Americans, The Purge appears to be urging, ought to be grateful for the disastrous government-engineered employment numbers of the Obama years – because look what draconian steps would have to be taken to reduce unemployment to tolerable levels!  End the federal stranglehold on the economy and a veritable Holocaust would ensue!  James DeMonaco is most probably the whimpering type of welfare-statist for whom the Ludwig von Mises Institute must appear a kind of looming Fourth Reich or harbinger of the Apocalypse.

3. Anti-white/anti-racist (i.e., pro-yawn).  Fanatical Purge partiers wear masks representing grotesquely wholesome, smiling, Caucasian faces. The implication is clear: behind the friendly facades of those once considered normal, upstanding citizens lurks an atavistic desire to butcher blacks, the homeless, and other poor, defenseless, and downtrodden creatures.  The film has a major ax to grind with suburbia and the ostensibly perfect America of the Cleaver family and so dresses its horde of murderers in preppie sweaters, jackets, ties, and conservatively virginal white dresses for the girls.

2. Anti-capitalistic.  Business interests make their money at the expense of the death and misery of the underprivileged.  Sandin, the film’s representative merchant, sells his neighbors a fraudulent bill of goods in a home security package that delivers less than it promises.  Only when confronted in his own home with the reality of the situation is Sandin moved to consider the moral dimension of his profiteering.

1. Anti-American.  There is something about the all-American health and contentment of Leave It to Beaver that drives radicals up the wall and causes them to rage with destructive self-loathing at the evil monolith of the establishment under which they imagine themselves to be cruelly crushed.  The Purge endeavors to tear it down.

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