Following the success of 2013’s The Purge, the film’s creators have expanded the dangerous universe they invented in its sequel, The Purge: Anarchy (15), which hits UK cinemas on 25 July 2014.
Set in a world where, for just one night a year, all crimes – including murder – are legal, The Purge: Anarchy manages to be both a pure entertaining thriller and to raise some interesting and thought-provoking questions…
1) Would you embrace violence if allowed by the Government?
This is the main question raised by The Purge films. It’s already there in the first film, and it’s even clearer in the second. There was some seriously twisted stuff going on during the Purge night, but Anarchy also asks the audience to look at themselves in the mirror and ask: would you be capable of killing someone if it were legal to do so? There can be wild and violent instincts in human beings that are usually shut down by law, morals and society. But if you take law out of the equation, you risk loosing morality too. And when you loose morality, you might be capable of things even worse than killing.
2) Why would people need to purge?
After the first film, audiences assumed that the people purging were just a bunch of lunatics, maniacs and inhuman beings. The answer to why these people need to purge would be interesting enough, but Anarchy takes things a step further and explores what so-called normal people could do when pushed to their limits. Trapped in the chaotic and violent madness of the Purge, what could innocent and non-violent people do? What could an otherwise regular man do to avenge a wrong done to himself or his family? The debate should also extend to the question of what the fantasy depicted in these films says about our real word: Are we actually that far from a real Purge night?
3) What happens to poor people during the Purge?
The first movie focused on what happened during the purge night to a well-to-do family with money enough to shield themselves from the danger outside thanks to expensive home security systems. The sequel answers the question of what was going on outside, in the cities and streets of America during the purge. What would happen to those who could not afford expensive security systems? How would the purge be experienced among the poor? Anarchy answers these questions by revealing the nightmare of a purge night outside the safety of a well-protected home.
4) Do you believe in heroes?
There are very tense, dark moments in Anarchy, in which the classic Hollywood hero will be tested. Is heroism possible on such a mad night? Within the confines of what the purge allows, would you expect heroes to rise and save the day? James DeMonaco, writer/director of the two Purge films, throws this question out to the audience in a speech by one of the characters. And it’s certainly an interesting topic to discuss. Heroism’s the norm in Hollywood action movies, but what if this happened in real life? How many John McClanes are out there ready to Yippee-Ki-Yay the bad guys? In a real-life situation, heroes rarely rise to save the day. Anarchy plays with this idea during a scene we won’t reveal to avoid spoilers.
5) Is redemption and forgiveness still possible during the Purge?
A final question is raised towards the end of the film: How can we confront notions of good and bad? When someone has done something bad to you, there’s always the option to forgive and forget. The choice is yours. However, we face the hardest challenge when it comes to personal matters; when feelings affect our ability to rationalize a problem, the strength of our beliefs is tested. But also, if we have done something wrong, what could we do to redeem ourselves?
The Purge: Anarchy (15) is out in UK cinemas on 25 July 2014.