By David Anderson
Planning on seeing “The Purge,” coming to theaters June 7?
The R-rated Sci-Fi not-likely-to-be-a-financial-
“Purge” normally means “the removal of people who are considered undesirable by those in power from a government, from another organization, or from society as a whole.”
You can probably think of some.
In writer and director James DeMonaco’s “The Purge” however, all evil everywhere in America has futuristically been suspended.
Except for one night. Every year.
Here’s how Wikipedia describes the setting.
“In the year 2022, the United States is prospering with an unemployment rate at 1% and crime at an all-time low. To keep this prosperity the government creates an annual 12-hour period in which all criminal activity, including murder, becomes legal. During this time, police and hospitals suspend all assistance services and execute citizens who refuse to participate by hanging. This event, known as The Purge, is designed to serve as a catharsis for the American people, giving them a chance to vent all negative emotions however they desire, with the ultimate goal of keeping unemployment and crime at extremely low levels for the rest of the year.”
Given our current economic mess, creating an environment in which mayhem and murder is every madman’s M.O. is not likely an idea that will catch on anytime soon.
However, violence in real life seems to have zero influence on the American people but rather has quite caught on with the gore-and-guts, hatcheted-and-chain-sawed — and otherwise-mutilated — bodies, latest-must-see-blood-soaked-
The Purge is the just one of the latest in a series of string-‘em-up, slice-and-dice, screams-on-the-screens.
Within six days of the massacre of children in Newtown this past Dec.14, headlines promised changes at movie and TV studies of the entertainment capital. “Executives reviewed scripts,” and perused problematic portions of pending productions to reach what poignant conclusion? What does “reacting with compassion” by an industry that “capitalizes on violent and crude entertainment” – not to mention gore – actually mean?
Nothing, other than to ‘sensitively’ remove the word ‘massacre’ from “Texas Chainsaw 3-D,” a fright-flick taking top spot at the box office less than a month since blood soaked the carpet red in Sandy Hook’s kindergarten classroom.
That very same first-weekend-in-January second in sales, and not far behind “Chainsaw,” was “Django Unchained,” a “bloody period tale of an ex-slave in the Deep South,” another bucket-of-blood spilling out across the country — one Michael Medved called “sadistically violent.”
Ironically, “The Purge,” which was to have been released on May 31, 2013 – as indicated on the theater poster — was later rescheduled for June 7, the same day that 15 years ago James Byrd Jr., a 49-year-old African-American man accepted a ride from three drunk men. Instead of taking him home, the three men beat up him behind a convenience store, tied him to their pickup truck with a chain, and dragged him three miles to his death.”
It was also that very same day, June 7, 1998 that a terrorist bomb planted on a packed commuter train in Khairpur, Pakistan exploded killing 23 and injuring dozens more.
So what does it matter, children strewn about a classroom, a hitchhiker chain-drug down a highway, or corpses — what’s left of them — pieced together from a train manifest, and similar portrayals like “The Purge”?
“What does it matter?” of course is a question 2016 Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has taken a good deal of criticism for when she herself responded with those four words during her testimony regarding goings-on in Benghazi.
But the same question could be asked of the commoners among us, those with most assuredly no political aspirations.
Does it matter? Have we become inured to the injured? Mollified to the massacred?
When will we stop wantonly wanting more?
The reason is reflected in the but one redeeming quality of “The Purge” — though neither “redeeming” nor “quality” hardly befits this fitful fright-flick — and that is when, albeit fictitiously, America has achieved DeMonaco’s version of ‘happyville,’ still when the vile and vicious, base and debased are allowed to roam free to do what their depraved mind can imagine, they do.
The teaser for the trailer asks “Will the family in the movie turn into the monsters from whom they hide?”