Tonight I watched The Purge: Anarchy and left the theater with my mind churning about the possible themes about poverty and crime that the movie depicted. The sequel to The Purge takes viewers into the lives of five different people: a struggling single mother with an ailing father and mouthy daughter; a young couple on the verge of marriage separation; and a vengeful father who lost his family but gained an extensive collection of weapons. The individuals meet by chance after multiple encounters with deadly street thugs and secret government conspirers. As they race to preserve their lives on a night where terror reigns in the city, I noticed several moments where the movie subliminally touched based with present-day reality in America.
In case you haven’t seen the first Purge, understand that the movie indicates that in the future (like 2023ish) the government will reduce unemployment and crime by hosting an annual Purge. The Purge commences on March 21 and allows citizens to commit unlimited crimes for 12 hours on the “holiday” date of March 21. Unfortunately, the 12 hour access to crime happens every day, 24 hours, in present day America. A radical, “Carmelo” releases a YouTube video in the movie discussing that the holiday is an opportunity for those living in poverty to kill one another and reduce the liability and responsibility that the government may have for these individuals. Many may argue that the extreme killings in places like Flint, Detroit, Chicago, and New York represents the everyday “Purge” among individuals living in a lower class. Thousands of these murders have been unresolved or put on hold. The movie mirrors the untroubled attitude of Americans when killings occur because it is now expected and a normal part of everyday life. The annual commencement is anticipated, which resembles the desensitized reactions to homicides that are shown on the news every day. It appears that the only ones who live in fear are those who the Purge directly affects: the poor. The movie shows that the wealthy and middle class go unaffected by having the ability to protect themselves with weapons and security systems. These individuals were often shown with an expression of glee as they supported the Purge as an opportunity for entertainment or to release themselves of any bitterness towards individuals of a lower class. The killings seem to be a plausible solution to the problems of America in this series; however, the underlying themes represent a bigger question: When will the killings stop in America? I am positive that prison, black market, and funeral businesses are booming as a result of homicides that plague cities across the nation.
I could go into detail about the horrific and unthought-of ways to die shown in the film, but this is not a review. It is a reality check. The Purge exists daily without the government’s permission or a proper way to reduce violent and deathly crimes committed to men, woman, children, young and old, guilty or innocent. I’m no theorist; I have the slightest idea of how to stop the violence and have no clue of how it all started and why. However, I do know that the “Purge” is alive and kicking and will continue to devour communities without recourse.
Hopefully, it takes more than a fictional horror film to open eyes about the present and future of those who try to make a way to escape or cope with impoverished circumstances – alive.
Did you watch The Purge: Anarchy this weekend? Tweet Whitney at @TheWriteGirl_ to share your opinion on the hidden messages of the movie.
Whitney L. White is an advocate of reducing violence in America through the education of reality.