What crime would you commit if for 12 hours every year all crime was legal? For me it would probably be the same crimes I commit the rest of the year… none. For some reason there isn’t a part of me that would secretly like to go out and kill someone or rape someone and is simply repressing it because it is illegal, but THAT is the premise behind The Purge.
Once a year, every year, the United States holds The Purge; an opportunity to commit any crime you want without the fear of arrest. The Emergency services are suspended and the population is allowed to let rip and release all their pent up criminal desires. The theory behind this is that if everyone KNOWS they can commit a murder or arson once a year without being held culpable then everyone will save up their desires until Purge day and crime the rest of the year will disappear. The only problem with it is that is it horrible.
Some people have made millions from the introduction of The Purge – selling house-cladding and security systems to the rich to help them keep safe during purge night. If you are poor however you are screwed and will just have to run, hide and hope no one beats you to death with a crowbar. Talk about social stratification! An added advantage to The Purge is its help in keeping down unemployment and homelessness – as every year the poor and homeless get bumped off. This in turn also helps boost the economy – so life is peachy, provided you can afford to keep your house secure, which many people can’t but policy makers can.
Unfortunately home protection systems are not entirely danger-proof and so enters our plot: a rich family who believe they are safe during The Purge but have to fight for survival after their house is laid siege to by a group wanting to kill someone inside. Suddenly a family who was pro-Purge may rapidly be changing their minds.
I guess the premise is quite interesting. It looks at issues of politics and how often policy is only made to benefit those at the top (because that is the sort of person that makes the policy) It also looks at how far a country may be willing to go in order to prosper and issues of law, illegality and morals are brought to the front.
However that is where this film gets me – the issue of morals. I would like to believe that illegality is not the only thing preventing millions of people from going out and murdering or raping someone – but that is the idea in this film. Once a year everyone can go out and release their pent-up aggression and kill people, but would people SERIOUSLY go out and do that just because it was legal? Human morals appear to have gone out the window and if the police and judicial system is the only thing stopping half of America from killing the other half then remind me never to go there! The premise is just a little bit silly if you ask me, maybe it is because I am English and we are used to being polite and holding in our anger, but I’m pretty sure I would still find kicking someone to death abhorrent even if the police said it was ok. Go to the gun range or learn to kick box or something – don’t run around killing people. Besides, imagine the clean-up costs afterward!
Plus, if your next-door neighbour had brutally raped and murdered your wife the day before, do you really think you would wait another year to go enact revenge? Maybe you would if you knew you’d get away with it, but then they would know it was coming. You certainly would not remain civil to each other and in my opinion, letting everyone commit lots of crimes once a year is just increasing the tension between individuals until something is bound to break. Imagine all that paranoia and distrust, thinking who might be plotting to kill you in a few months’ time?
Basically the entire idea is just stupid. It makes for a good film, yes, but it totally negates human nature and moral guidelines. I do not genuinely think behind everyone is a criminal waiting to get out, and really IF THERE IS do we want to encourage that to show itself? Bloody Hell, whoever designed this film has a poor opinion of mankind. The idea is interesting though, and I could slag it off for hours!
Of the plot, I wasn’t riveted. It took a long time to get going and I found it a little silly. It contains quite a few want-to-smack-main-character-up-side-the-head moments (ahh so maybe that is the inner violence in me coming out!) and people do not behave sensibly. But then what about this film is rational and sensible really? If you wanted a really secure house just buy a sensor based machine-gun that shoots anything that gets within 100ft of your house during Purge night – problem solved – no need for bars! I could make a lot of money if I lived in that world!