“Unemployment is at 1%. Crime is at an all-time low. Violence barely exists. With one exception…”The Purge (2013)
The Pure navigates an aspect of dystopian American society in the year 2022. Government authority has created a day out of the year to be “the purge” in which a 12 hour grace period is enacted, allowing for the decriminalization of murder, robbery, and other acts of violence. Reasons behind the creation of the purge center around the Hobbesian theory that man is in constant competition willing to do what is necessary to survive. Simply put, the purge works to allow pent-up aggression to be released. Why this notion can continue is based on the fact shown in the opening credits of the movie, “Unemployment is at 1%. Crime is at an all-time low. Violence barely exists. With one exception…” Although society sees the purge as a positive for mental health, it in turn ultimately benefits the government.
Purging can be seen as something that cleanses both the individual and the community. A factor to consider is that economic stability and overall protection during the purge are proportional. The more money you have, the better you can protect yourself. While we see our main characters hidden behind steel walls, the less fortunate are fighting for their lives. The purge is a way to cleanse anyone who is economically insatiable so of course, there would be a decrease in unemployment and crime as both are factors that tend to make up statistics from less fortunate groups in society. Essentially the purge is a way for the higher class individuals to do the government’s dirty work and work to create a society based on the fittest.
Although it is important to note that the upper class tends to work in a way that the government wants them to. To deal with the anger or jealousy they have of others, they take into account the mental health aspect of the purge which we see in the final moments of the movie. The upper class is now at war with themselves further being pawns in the overall control of the government.
This movie does an amazing job of highlighting both government control and the Hobbesian concept of competition. Upon watching this movie years ago I saw it as a new film that approaches horror in a way never seen before. However, after watching again these important details of society are thrown at you. We see how economic status, jealousy, and nature all play a part in the overall dystopian concept of the movie.