Mandatory Movie Battles: The Purge: Election Year v. The Reality Show That is Your Life in 2020
When the original Purge film came out, it was a suspenseful little thriller that had a very simple premise: what if, just for one night, all crime was legal? While the original film focused on just one small family in one big house (with Ethan Hawke playing the patriarch), the subsequent films have branched out and told a number of different stories across four films and even a television show. The Purge has become a phenomenon, as it continues to portray a dystopian future in which morals are thrown away and crimes are committed for “the greater good.” In reality, the Purge (the act, not the film) was created as a way to kill the poor and keep the rich, white “New Founding Fathers” on top of the political and economic landscape. Sound familiar? It should. Because we’re fucking living in the Purge times right now.
In fact, with the upcoming 2020 election nearly upon us, our lives are resembling the third film in the series, The Purge: Election Year, more and more. In that film, a young woman named Charlie Roan is running for president and, if she wins, her plan is to abolish the Purge permanently. Her political view of the Purge is also a personal one because, years earlier, her entire family was killed during one of the annual Purges. Now, as an adult, she wants to abolish the Purge which, naturally, doesn’t sit right with the New Founding Fathers so they work to try and ensure that she does not get elected. The best way to do that, in their minds, is to just kill her on Purge night.
Now, granted, we don’t actually have a night in America in which people can just commit whatever crimes they want. But our country’s biggest cities have seen their share of violence lately and, while it may not be legal, lots of people are getting killed as a direct result of the state in which our country is in. And that’s not the only similarity our current reality shares with The Purge: Election Year. So let’s put on our masks and take up our crossbows as we examine The Purge: Election Year and how closely it resembles the reality show that is our lives.
Cover Photo: Universal Pictures and Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Stringer (Getty Images)
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The Country is Run by Rich, Old White Guys
This is, of course, the most glaring similarity. Our nation’s leaders wouldn’t dare call themselves “The New Founding Fathers,” mostly because AOC would then attempt to dismantle the patriarchy. Still, it’s no secret that it’s still the rich, old white guys who really run the show.
The Rich Are Getting Richer and the Poor Are, Well, Dying
If there’s one thing that is certain during these troubling times, it’s that the rich will continue to get richer. Whether it’s because of tax breaks or, in the case of our president, just not paying taxes at all, it’s becoming more and more evident that the 1 percent are always the ones to survive. It’s the minorities that are continuing to suffer. It’s those with preexisting conditions that are going to succumb to them. And it’s the nameless, voiceless, homeless among us that are going to continue to die while the elite continue to line their pockets.
They Just Make the Rules Up as They Go Along
One of the rules of the Purge is that government officials were off-limits when it came to the crimes being committed. Of course, this changed when the New Founding Fathers wanted it to or, in other words, when it benefitted them. Similarly, the rules and regulations currently put into place in our country seem to change on a daily basis, depending on the whims of those in charge.
Patriotism Is Confused With Blind Devotion
Despite the murderous agenda of the New Founding Fathers, there are actually quite a few people in that world who support them. These people believe that it’s patriotic to kill people and they use the illusion of patriotism to justify their murderous behavior. We have a feeling that Kyle Rittenhouse would be perfectly at home in the world of The Purge.
We Don’t Know Who Is On Whose Side
Election Year is full of twists, turns and shocking betrayals, not unlike our very own country in 2020. People whom we thought we could support turned out to be cowards (Lindsey Graham) and people whom we should be able to trust are actually working for the other team (President Trump, who is consciously or unconsciously probably working for Russia). We don’t know who to trust, so we just end up not trusting anybody and that is how revolutions start.
The President Is the Biggest Coward of All
In the film, it is NFFA leader and current president Caleb Warrens who is the biggest coward of all. He thinks he’s the mastermind but he’s being played more than anybody. He has no spine, no character and no redeeming qualities, whatsoever. When he is finally assassinated, the audience barely bats an eye because we were surprised he survived this long to begin with. He only became the leader because he was the easiest mark to play and, at the end of it all, it was revealed that he actually didn’t even matter that much to the overall plot.
Cowards in Colorful Masks Walk Around with Guns
In both Election Year and in, well, our election year, there are large groups of people who have donned colorful costumes and strapped guns to their backs, in an effort to look intimidating. It hasn’t worked. Because we know the people behind those masks and behind those guns are nothing but cowards. These people were looking for an excuse to compensate for their small dicks, small brains and small hearts. These vultures were waiting in the rafters all along; they were just waiting for an excuse to make themselves known.
The Fucking Tagline of the Movie Is ‘Keep America Great’
We don’t claim to be the sharpest cards in the deck, but we’re pretty good at picking up on subtlety. The tagline of The Purge: Election Year, which came out during the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, was “Keep America Great.” We’re willing to bet that the writer of this film wasn’t trying very hard for subtext.
Election Results Produced Mass Riots and Civil War
Spoiler Alert: Charlie Rone ends up winning the presidential election by a landslide. But, even though the “bad guy” is out of the picture, he was only a puppet of a much larger system - a system that, surprisingly, had a ton of supporters. These supporters vowed to riot and loot and go to war if their chosen official didn’t win the election, which proved that it wasn’t just one man, or even 10 men, that were the problem. It was an entire section of the population who wanted to give in to their deepest, darkest desires. These people hid behind guns or computer screens, but they’ve been here the whole time. And now that they have to go back into hiding, they wanted to take out as many people with them as they could. But the good news is…
In the End, the Good Guys Win
It wouldn’t be much of an ending if the New Founding Fathers won and just continued with their murderous status quo. Charlie Rone survived the movie, won the presidency and, presumably, went on to finally dismantle The Purge. That’s how most movies end -- the good guy wins, the bad guy loses and we all go to bed happy. It’s harder to stay that optimistic in real life, but we have to continue to believe that, in the end, the good guys win. In the end, compassion and mercy and empathy outweigh any of the bad.
Most importantly, in the end, love wins. It happens in the movies and it happens in real life too. Unlike the movies, however, it is up to us to prove that love wins. And we can do so by voting this election year and ensuring that our country never, ever again resembles The Purge.
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