The Purge (2013) is a film that showcases an America contorted into a heinous state of war for one night a year. For 364 days, the country is expected to follow laws and there is active government involvement in public safety thanks to police and other emergency services. But that other day, all those emergency services are instructed to not stop any crime that they see and ultimately be unresponsive. The film focuses on a family of four, the Sandins, as they maneuver the night, attempting to stay safe and not turn into the types of people outside their home that choose to participate in the purge. Over the course of the night, the purgers’ emotions of jealousy, rage, and hatred are expressed through crimes such as destruction and, more often, murder.
This film has various dystopian aspects that are portrayed with a realistic flair. This is because it speaks to several different real-life dystopian moments, such as issues between races and social classes. One explicit real-life struggle that exists in the hood, that we often don’t think or talk about, is the fact that police don’t patrol in those particular areas. For example, I live in the Bienville Basin complex, which was formerly known as the Iberville projects. Even though it doesn’t “look” like the hood 100%, police are rarely around. They don’t drive through, and the take an insane amount of time to come if there’s ever an emergency. Like in The Purge, citizens are deprived of their right to protection by the government. While it is realistic, I also believe that a society like the one that exists in the film is probable, simply because people get away with crimes everyday. I just don’t think that people would be able to hold off on the crime for the other 364 days. As fas as it being probable, I really don’t think that the government would allow something like this to happen. The government has slowly become more and more diverse, as well as the courts, and I don’t think that collectively they would agree to implement a law such as this. If they did, I think they’d be expecting complete anarchy from that point on.
The film definitely speaks to a theme of hate crimes. A group of rich whites go to the Sandins’ home searching for the homeless black man that has escaped their clutches. Why do they want to kill this man? Because he’s (black and) poor. The purgers refer to the man as lazy and say that “the pig doesn’t know his place and now needs to be taught a lesson”. This is very much a hate crime. Aside from the fact that the man is black and the purgers are white, the purgers want to kill him just because he belongs to a lower class than themselves. They literally search for him up and down blocks and through neighborhoods in order to kill him, much like the KKK would search for black people to kill back in the 19th and 20th centuries. The law of the Purge is clearly dystopian because it allows people to do whatever they want with no consequences. The effect of this is the possibility of things like hate crimes and drug dealing, events that are detrimental to the community as a whole.