The Problem With The Purge

The Purge is set in a world where crime rates are lower than 1%. On the surface, it seems like everyone is happy and employed, but there’s a caveat to this “idealistic” dystopian America. One night a year all crime is legal, including murder, for 12 hours and they call this period “the purge.” During this time people are encouraged to purge out all of the hatred, anger, and jealousy they feel every other day of the year, on this one night. The movie follows the Sandin family and the events that transpire on purge night in the year 2022.

I personally do not think The Purge is a probable way to solve the issues of crime and unemployment, at least not morally. I think the movie (in theory) treats purge night as a “well-thought-out” free for all where respect for human lives is discarded and yet when the 12 hour period is over, everyone has to go back to pretending that they aren’t plotting to get their revenge on the next purge night. I think the fact that the government allows and regulates the standards for the purge makes this movie dystopian. This version of America can be seen as undesirable or frightening in the dystopian context because it’s a barbaric social cleansing that will most likely get worse and result in more deaths each year. There are many unanswered questions that plague this movie, such as what happens to all the bodies that are recovered after the purge is over? If the deceased had relatives are they notified that their family member was a casualty of the purge? This movie fits our definition of dystopia because it takes place in an imaginary America where only the wealthy have somewhat guaranteed protection from being harmed during the purge. Although I don’t think the government forces anyone to engage in the purge, it comes down to hunt or be hunted especially if you don’t have any way to protect yourself during the purge. Anyone who is homeless or middle/lower class most likely won’t be able to arm themselves with the necessary equipment to protect themselves against predators on purge night.

In terms of contemporary reflections in the film, I think that the evident classism in the movie accurately reflects today’s society. The wealthy have access to the best resources so radical changes in government will most likely leave them unscathed.

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