THE PURGE: ANARCHY
US, 2014, 103 minutes, Colour.
Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Zoe Soul, Justina Machado, John Beasley, Michael Kenneth Williams.
Directed by James De Monaco.
Purge Night was an unexpected commercial success in 2013. The film had a good cast led by Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey. It also had an intriguing presupposition: that the new government in the United States, allegedly to protect its citizens while actually culling criminal elements, has marks of a fascist and violent state proclaiming law and order yet promoting violence, and established Purge Night. It isa night in which legal restrictions were lifted and citizens were free to eliminate others, for whatever motives, with home invasion, looting as well as the indiscriminate and discriminate killing.
Writer-director, James De Monaco revisits his theme. It is Purge Night once again. This time he has three focuses for his storytelling: a young couple, on the brink of separation, whose car breaks down and who are left on the streets, stranded at the beginning of Purge Night; an African- American mother and daughter, at home, their father allegedly gone to bed having sold himself to a rich family to be their Purge Night violent victim, who find their home invaded and themselves under threat out in the street; the third is a police sergeant who is bent on avenging the death of his son in a road accident who arms himself, resists the warnings of his sister, and goes in his car – but who becomes something of a good Samaritan to the couple and to the mother and daughter, shielding them, protecting them from marauding gangs, only to find themselves sold to a rich group in a restaurant club and being set up as victims to be pursued.
The basic theme is interesting and the film has excitement – but, of course with films that portray violence to condemn violence, there is always the danger of exploitation and some audiences will think that the film has gone too far in its visual and thematic portrayal, while others will find it a satisfying picture critical of the ideas and the Purge Night.
1. The impact and popularity of the initial film? The writer-director and the new interpretation of Purge Night?
2. The city, ordinary, closing down at the end of the day, the preparations for Purge Night, people barricading themselves in buildings, vigilantes wandering the roads, people trapped outside? The night itself, the signal being given, an atmosphere of fear, violence, lawlessness in the name of the law, the focus on particular groups, the dangers, the rich and exploitation, the poor and victims? The violent climaxes? The new day and the normal returning? The musical score at atmosphere?
3. The idea of Purge Night? The new government, the fascist idea, putting down crime but allowing elites and exploiters to murder and plunder? Government officials on television justifying Purge Night?
4. The focus of the film, the three different groups, the connections, the protector, victims, the violence?
5. At the diner, Eva, her work, colleagues, urging others to be safe? Her going home, her sister watching the speaker on television, believing his propaganda, the father coming in, his spurning the propagandist? Love for his daughters, pretending to go to bed, the background of his selling himself to the rich family, the money for his daughters, the limousine, the family, rich, brutally executing him? Mother and daughter, the bond between them, barricading themselves in, the intrusion into their home, the dangers, having to escape, in the street?
6. The Sergeant, getting his guns ready, the background of the death of his son, his going to get vengeance on Purge Night, his sister’s warning, in his car, driving around the city, coming across the couple, taking them in, the mother and daughter, saving them? Their fears and suspicions? His car, the van, the men with the machine gun at the back? The shootouts, the deaths, his survival and vengeance?
7. The couple, planning to separate, shopping, in the car, the breakdown, wandering the city, afraid, the dumpster, the groups pursuing them, hiding? Saved by the Sgt?
8. The various groups before Purge Night offering protection? The groups roaming the city, the brutality? The seemingly sympathetic group, saving the victims – but selling them to the rich so they could be killed? The Sergeant and his reaction?
9. The build-up of tension, dangers in the streets, the pursuit, hiding, being trapped, escapes?
10. The group taken by the rich, the club, the people dying in, the auction for killing, the weapons, the woman hosting? The victims, lights out, the chances, pursuits, the deaths? The husband dying? The Sergeant turning the tables? The hostess and her fears? Deaths?
11. The final confrontations, the Sergeant, his motivations, going to the house, confronting the killer of his son, the killer trying to do a deal, his wife, almost the end of purge night? The violence in deaths?
12. The restoration of the normal, the acceptance in the United States of this kind of Purge Night, getting rid of unwanted elements, justifying homicide and looting, the picture of fascist decadence?