Movie Review: The Purge

The elements instilled within the film The Purge during this annual national “holiday” such as the ones discussed below are what makes this film dystopian. Those experiencing the dystopia are oppressed groups that are actively being purged or have had to purge to survive due to circumstances similar to the Sandlin family. While their views of this dystopia may all be different, I believe they are able to acknowledge that this is a night of chaos. In many cases I believe those effected most in this dystopian event are those without shelter, the means of adequate resources, or family members and friends. In the film we saw this when we found that the man these wealthy young adults were purging on was homeless. Homeless and unfortunate people typically do not have a say, as much freedom of speech, and lack access to resources. This is something that was also limited for the citizens in London in 1984. This lack of stability and power is also an element we discussed in Young’s “Five Faces of Oppression” as Young described this oppressed group of people that are preyed on which is similar to The Purge.

The Purge was a good example of a dystopian film. I watched the film when it was first released, but I never analyzed it until this course. There are many dystopian elements throughout the movie and one I think some may overlook, if not familiar with dystopias, is the representation of oppressed groups. From Iris Young we learned that oppression is “the disadvantage and injustice some people suffer not because a tyrannical power coerces them, but because of the everyday practices of a well-intentioned liberal society” (page 1). To me this explains the film perfectly. The wealthy liberal citizens voted to have this “holiday” because it allows them to do whatever they please with no consequences and actions. While the underrepresented groups are just left to be in this environment of chaos with no say and are violently oppressed.

Additionally, we see a lot of violence throughout this film, which is very typical of dystopian societies. In many dystopian societies we often see the characters literally fighting for their lives and during the purge this is no different. In a way it can be seen as survival of the fittest. In viewing it this way, those most fit are the people in wealthy neighborhoods with high alert security systems and the weaponry needed should they have to use it. Whereas those unfit are as I stated in the previous paragraph the ones lacking homes, shelter, family, and weapons. For some of those wealthy people such as the young adults preying on that homeless man this is literally a violent game for them and for the person on the other end, they are doing everything in their power to stay alive.

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