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Wednesday 10 April 2013

The Purge

This year's Beerbohm Award for Best Independent trailer went to a film called, "Consequence."  The question it asks is: what would you do if you could live one day without consequence?

The story is of a women who lives her consequence-free day building up to a purpose:  to right a wrong.  The build up is in how she tests the consequence idea.  First on a fun and harmless level and slowly building to the real purpose.  Given the opportunity, what would you do? It's a pretty powerful concept.

Naturally, The Purge reminded me of Consequence.

The Purge takes place in an America that has very little crime because once a year for 12 hours its citizens are permitted to commit crimes at will, without consequence.  The Purge focuses on one family that chooses not to participate in the violence because they are happy with their lives.  They have created a fortress of their home and they wait out the night - the purge.  This time, however, the children are old enough or wise enough to ask questions. One child let's in a stranger on the run and the family home comes under siege as the community, which is out for the stranger's blood, converges on the family home.

While the concept is interesting from a sociological perspective, kind of like Shirley Jackson's, The Lottery, is interesting for the same reasons, it's also frightening.

Frightening because blood sport is the likely the next uncharted reality TV territory.... You know, like The Running Man or The Hunger Games, or UFC... this is a rant for another day.

So, if on the night of the purge, one commits a crime and will likely either develop a taste for blood or be disgusted by their actions.  Either way, not good. If the taste for blood is developed than is it realistic to think that the need can only be satiated once a year?  Would giving one this taste make them more patient or less patient?  Can one really live by the rules for 364.5 days per year only to break them for half a day?

On the flip side, if enough are disgusted by their bloody actions would they not try to stop the purge from happening?  I guess they could always move to Canada or the U.K.

I believe that The Purge is disturbing food for thought.  In many films of this genre, there is a menacing force targeting potential victims.  It is usually isolated and the tension is created by the battle for survival.  In The Purge, the family's battle for survival is just a microcosm of what is really happening all over America. Allowing an entire country to commit heinous acts without consequence for 12 hours is like handing children hand guns and asking them not to hurt themselves.

Maybe the statement that The Purge is making is that humans, given that we are inherently violent, are not capable of making the right choice so the government has found a way to allow us to show our true colours for 12 hours in order to control our base urges for the rest of the year?

My head hurts.

Any trailer that causes me to think so much is a good one.  Morbid fascination will likely drive me to see this film... but then, what does that say about me?

1 comment:

  1. Next to certain serial killers, can anyone really exercise self-control over all their "bad urges" for one full year in exchange for 12 hours of freedom? If you can't control it during the 12 hours, then I feel you won't have to the fortitude to hold off for the other 364 days....

    So really, this is about movie fun....

    My head also hurts. When did movies turn from mindless entertainment into sociological exercises of bad behavior.