Sunday, June 9, 2013

White Folk Be Acting Crazy : A Review of The Purge

Let's face it, Denver's homeless issue has gotten out of control. They fill our streets. They plague our mall. Asking for handouts, while fine hard working folks like ourselves have to earn our credits. It's disgusting. This problem has left the realm of annoyance, and has become a spiritual burden. There's nothing left to do but to cleanse these poor souls from our streets.

We thank them for their sacrifice. God bless the new founding fathers on this Purge day.

Sounds kinda like ... I don't know, racist elitism. That's exactly the vibe of James DeMonaco's The Purge. Once a year, America's police look the other way for 12 hours so the populace can let their dark side lose by committing any crime they want. While the "holiday" is sold as a way to let our animalistic personalities be expressed, the movie viewers are slowly exposed to the truth of the holiday. It's an excuse to wipe out the poor and lower class. Hence the recovering economy and lack of crime.

While it's not the most original idea (Star Trek did it in "The Return of the Archons" episode, circa 1967), DeMonaco has given the idea a nice touch of modernity by relating it to the 1% versus the 99%. The have's get to remove the have not's.

The film does this through a nice reminder of the racism that used to (and arguably still does) exist in America. The poor are represented by the only African American of the film, performed by Edwin Hodge. While we initially spend the film questioning Hodge's honesty, by the end the characters find themselves questioning their own morality with what to do with this homeless man on the run. Do they sacrifice him to the elitist Purgers, or do they risk their family in helping to save a life?

My rantings above may make it appear as if this movie is a psychological thriller. Let me assure you, IT IS NOT. The Purge pretends it has layers of political commentary, but at it's core it's just a fun, suspenseful thriller. We spend half the film looking for the black guy in the dark, and the other half is just action-packed with elitists fighting each other. The last bit being one of the best nose breaking scenes in my cinema recollection.

Oh, I did I mention the bad guy's are hilarious. Rhys Wakefield really sells his character's demented appeal. I almost started rooting for him and his masked crew. They just want to have a fun night, like any good All-American group of college kids.

If you're in the mood for a fun thriller with a hint of political commentary, then you should Purge yourself.

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