The time of year when all crime isn’t crime anymore, when the public partakes of a nation wide ritualistic hemming of the populace via unpunished violence towards their fellow man, woman and child. The time of year when the American government turns its collectively blind eye on justice, and allows the roiling throngs of warmongers, uninhibited by the lifting of governmental and societal jurisprudence, to blow whichever way the devil’s wind may take them. Yes, it’s purge time, baby. Here we go.
In order to enjoy the second installment of writer / director James DeMonaco’s Purge franchise, you have to be able to suspend disbelief and buy into the notion that society as you know it has the capability to fall into this lawless and primal rule of strength, if but for one night of every year. This follows suit with the previous movie in the cannon; that the heavy lifting is done by the viewer before the movie ever begins. The Purge: Anarchy follows three separate story lines that converge outside of the safe confines of barricaded and enforced homes into the streets of a downtown metropolis seething with potential murderers. An inner city mother and daughter struggling with financial woes, a couple on the verge of relationship decimation and a father wrought with grief, all get caught outside of the lines of confined and reinforced safety and find themselves running from raving gangs of murderers and government cultivated kill squads in a quest to survive the night.
Thematically, the movie pulls no punches. The Purge: Anarchy does not waffle the lines that it draws; open distrust and maligning of the upper class mixed with an extrapolated synergy between church and state has rich, culturally homogenous people praying to the nation as they kill the racially diverse poor. The movie serves as a veritable sledge hammer of a pundit for a pseudo-radical politic. It’s fine. Overall, however, I found the experience got better the less I considered the politics of the film and just focused on the heart of the movie: the fact that these people are just trying to survive the night without getting killed. It reminds me of the time when movies were action movies.Sometimes, you have to just take some of that mindless violence, chomp on some of that popcorn and sit back and relax. Really, did anyone truly consider the underlying politics of a movie like Predator? If they did, do you think they had as much fun watching it as you did?
If you enjoyed movies like the first Death Wish, then The Purge: Anarchy is for you. It’s better than the previous Purge movie in that it doesn’t have to sell you the premise of what the annual purge is anymore and, rather, takes great joy in taking the viewing audience along for a bloody urban survival flick. Enjoy!
The Purge: Anarchy opens today in area theaters.
Author: J.T. Alvarez
Joshua Alvarez is an avid film appreciator and musician from the Philadelphia area. In addition to being a PFS member and the lead singer for various bands in the Philadelphia hardcore scene, Joshua also possesses the strength of a lion that has the strength of two lions.