The Purge, broken down

The movie “The Purge” is a film based on an annual event, where people are legally allowed to express their innate aggression for twelve hours. The plot follows a wealthy and seemingly protected family, whose wealth is based on the sale of the father’s security system business. This security system is what their affluent neighborhood depends on to protect themselves during the purge. However, the film goes quickly downhill as each character has a flaw or problem that eventually unravels the security system and their safety. This film creates an imaginary world that causes great suffering and it can be seen in the film’s dystopian elements.

The main dystopian elements in the film are the purge that takes place and the use of the security system. The setting in the film parallels the Hobbesian jungle as both communities are in a state of nature where no laws exist. The purge promotes Freud’s idea of aggression as the government encourages people to participate in the purge as a “healthy release.” This is demonstrated in the main characters as they are depicted as mature and refined, but as the film progresses the characters are put in a state of survival where they end up releasing their aggression on others. Oppression can subtly be seen in the way the affluent neighborhood conducts itself to get ready for the purge. The wealthy community relies its safety on the security system, however that system is not assessable to the poor making them the main victims of the purge. This is depicted through the main family’s son, who sees his privilege to be protected by the security system, wants to help a civilian outside of the system. Powerlessness is seen in the participation of the purge as the civilians do not get a choice whether they want to participate or not. Everyone has to find their way to survive the purge for themselves. The annual purge takes on the ideas of the Hobbesian Jungle and Freud’s idea of aggression to depict a dystopian world, while the access to the security system depicts the dystopian elements within the society. 

Overall, the film takes a dystopian approach through the event and the division of social class. The annual purge brings out suffering through the motivation of aggression and our innate nature for competition and glory. The division of social class is depicted through the privilege the neighborhood has over others, as they are constantly reassured of their safety with their accessibility to the security system. These elements create a world of great suffering as no one is essentially protected from danger and this is seen as the film progresses and their security system is compromised. However, there is an element of a dystopian world through their social class which is what creates the comfortable setting at the beginning of the film. The family’s high social class creates a pleasant, safe feeling at the beginning of the film to hide the real horrors of the dystopian world. 

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