Does morality come from within?
Synopsis: A group of people try to survive as the annual Purge commences…
“Why am I so excited? Shouldn’t I be more horrified than anything? It is under the Horror genre after all…” While contemplating my sanity, it occurred to me the reason as to why this movie is thrilling; because instead of the supernatural evil against humanity…it’s humanity evil against humanity.
The biggest controversy of the film is “whether morality is intrinsic?” If the film is somewhat accurate on human motives, does that mean we are only civilised, responsible beings…because there is punishment if we are not? Anarchy suggested that this was not the case. There were nut jobs that genuinely enjoyed “purging”, but the main character that had set out to kill someone, ended up being a semi-protagonist with helping people on the way and not killing his victim. On the other hand, we were presented with the rich who had “personal purges” and even auctioned killing for entertainment. This would be the flip side of the “intrinsic moral” debate where it is the law that prevents us from going on crime sprees- or it could just be the “being rich means you are evil” cliché that every movie has. But even if morality is learned, I would like to think that the law provides a guideline to what is right and wrong. What would the kids think if the law made an allowance to slaughter people once a year? Would they grow up with the same sense of justice as we have?
I liked the concept of masked gangs going round killing people. Masks tend to make people uncomfortable, at least me, due to their ambiguity as we are social creatures designed to instinctively be able to read faces; with a mask on, you can’t tell people’s expressions and motives. They are unknown to us. And this is where fear would seep in. Anything unfamiliar would make us feel uneasy.
The movie starts off with a “fact” that fewer crime occur and less people living below the poverty line. Regarding the poverty, if the poor can’t afford security- or even middle-class as we see in the film- and gangs are out for random blood to spill, then mathematically, the population of those classes would drop. But is that necessarily a good thing? Most likely they are the people that work in restaurants or pick the garbage on your street or maybe a teacher. If it weren’t for these unsung heroes, our community would be a great mess. Even if, as the movie hinted, the government was going round killing low-paid people, what would be the point? They are low-paid. It’s not like they are taking up chunks of the government’s money. And they certainly can’t start employing the rich to do those jobs; they will just ask for thousands of dollars for every Pepsi can they pick up. So that really doesn’t make sense the government would do that.
I’m skeptical on there being “fewer” crime. Sure, there would be less as they can just do it on The Purge day but I refuse to believe that majority of the people would just wait an entire year to do crime (note “crime” and not “murder”). Again, does it have to be defined by the government as “crime” to be a crime? Isn’t it like saying “It’s okay to do it as long as you don’t get caught doing it?”
Personally, while a unique and great idea to play with, if an actual Purge Act was instilled, it wouldn’t really work. If criminals were smart, they could just spend the entire year cooking up a magnificent heist and be able to pull it off. Important people and celebrities might go missing. The damages to houses, the bodies and blood on the street…not taking into account of the obvious issues with people dying, there’s just too much chaos.
Nevertheless, as a film, it was very compelling. I was actually disappointed when it ended because I would have loved it to be longer. Not only just being a thriller, it makes you wonder at whether human’s are really capable of doing such things. Now that I come to think of it…Isn’t war kind of a Purge Act? I’ll let you decide that one.
Verdict: 7 of 10 kicks