These thoughts are overwhelmingly positive. I lurve The Purge, by which I mean the sequels to the original, deeply lackluster purge movie. Sorry, Cersei Lannister, but it ain’t your finest hour.
Please enjoy this itemized list of things I unabashedly adore about The Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Night.
Firstly, I like broody, dark-haired men doing violence. I like John Wick, I like Jon Bernthal as the Punisher, I like Benicio del Toro in Sicario. So, of course, I am completely over the moon for Leo Barnes, a character so broody and violent and fabulously coiffed that he doesn’t even get a name until the second movie. He’s so mysterious and unknowable! And violent!
I also really like kittens. I contain multitudes, okay? Stop judging me.
Secondly, I bet the purge is really good for small business owners. Hear me out, guys: people in the purge universe have guillotines. MOTHERTRUCKING GUILLOTINES. Where are they getting these guillotines? Are they building these guillotines themselves? Of course not! Americans are lazy af and we (wrongly) look down on unskilled labor.
You know what we don’t look down on? ESTY SHOPS. I posit that these guillotines, not to mention the human-sized rat traps and Poe-worthy pendulums of death, are made by hard-working American craftspeople. Salt of the earth, blue-collar workers, just looking to make an honest wage for honest work. To say nothing of all the costumes and make-up! It’s Murder Halloween!! There are probably make-up artists who get booked months in advance of the annual purge, with thriving YouTube channels and collabs with MAC.
Thirdly, Michael K Williams is in Anarchy, and while that is a far cry from Michael K Williams being in every movie ever made (which is the future this liberal wants), it’s a start. Michael K Williams is a national goddamn treasure.
Finally, I believe The Purge sequels do a better job of explaining our current political hellscape than other pieces of pop culture people point to. Apparently sales of 1984 soared after the election, and everyone but me can stop binging The Handmaid’s Tale. Because reality isn’t horrifying enough? Seriously?
What The Purge gets, that 1984 and the television series of The Handmaid’s Tale don’t, is that inequality and disenfranchisement are never going to be distributed equally. The people on the bottom aren’t equally on the bottom, nor are they equally disposable. We might both be poor, but a poor white man still has far more resources than a poor woman of color.
And the people on the bottom aren’t going to automatically band together to save each other. The rich stay rich, not just by crushing the lower classes beneath their boot heels, but by convincing us to turn on each other, by convincing poor whites they have more in common with rich whites than poor people of color.
If you starve people long enough, they have no choice but to eat each other. As over-the-top and inelegant as these movies are, they understand that fundamental truth about how America works.
Wow, that got heavy. My bad. To lighten things up, let me end by saying that Leo Barnes is a beefcake dream boat whom I would gladly follow through the charred, burning remains of America, Murder Halloween is an idea I should trademark before any of you assholes beat me to it, and Michael K Williams deserves a monument on the National Mall.
Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.