New Film ‘The Purge’ A Slam on NRA, Tea Party Movement

The new Ethan Hawke thriller The Purge was number one at the box office during its opening weekend, but critics are slamming the film for its thinly veiled commentary against the National Rifle Association, Sarah Palin, and Tea Party groups.

The plot brings moviegoers to the near future where in 2022 a new regime has come to America. The “New Founders” have taken over the country and practically eliminated unemployment, crime, and want.

One of the ways this new political movement has brought on such an idyllic society is to allow one night a year when any and all violence, even murder, is legal. Citizens are allowed to “purge” their basest tendencies during that one lawless night.

The whole premise takes quite a lot of suspension of disbelief. If it were that easy to shut off human nature for 364 days a year, why not shut it off for that last one? But director James DeMonaco was more interested in social commentary than logic. And his hope was to purge the NRA, the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, and conservatives.

This anti-right-wing bias isn’t a simple perception of detractors, either. The director of the film, James DeMonaco, has come right out and admitted that he made his film as a commentary on America, its propensity toward violence, and conservative groups. And if it wasn’t clear enough in the film some of the characters wear Sarah Palin masks to drive that home.

The director himself told the film fan website Bloody Disgusting that he intended his film to be social commentary. He had lived in France and Canada for a time and noticed that the news coverage was very different outside the U.S.

“Their news was just about us because they had nothing to report. Not much crime there. I was seeing this pattern–outside of our country, they just don’t have the relationship with violence that we have,” he said.

When the interviewer noted that the U.S. is n such turmoil that she might be in a mood to allow extremists to come to power to set things right, the director agreed.

DeMonaco said that when writing the film, “I layered in these New Founding Fathers, this regime that we voted into power at some point, some kind of NRA-thing that took over the country.”

How a group like the NRA can go from one dedicated to making sure all Americans enjoy personal security and individual rights to one that somehow becomes a centrally directed, authoritarian government is not explained in the movie. But, again, we’ll have to suspend disbelief to go with this film.

The director also made the lead character played by Ethan Hawke a somewhat un-sympathetic character because he is “rich.”

At the beginning, Ethan Hawke’s character is kind of a despicable guy if you analyze his take on society. He sells security systems to the rich, he knows poor people get killed, but (his family doesn’t) because they can afford their own protection. To me, the most telling line of his character is “It doesn’t happen in our neighborhood.”

The movie was panned by Ed Morrissey as being “as subtle as a jackhammer welded to the grill of a Mack Truck speeding at the viewers at 95 miles an hour.”

Morrissey also sees a slam on Christianity in the film.

On top of all this subtlety, everyone says, “Blessed be the New Founders! Blessed be the new America!” just in case you haven’t figured out that it’s Christianity that tells people to cleanse their souls by murdering the poor. Funny, I’ve studied the Bible and theology for quite a while now, and have seen many faith-based organizations proving food, shelter, clothing, and health care to the poor. I guess James DeMonaco saw Contact once and figured he knew what religion was really all about. The better-living-through-sacrificing-inconvenient-human-life model bears a lot more resemblance to pro-abortion apologias, but it would take a brave and innovative Hollywood filmmaker to make that argument, and DeMonaco is neither.

Morrissey afound the action to be entirely predictable and stale.

“It’s not even fun enough to watch for giggles over how bad it is,” Morrissey says. “In fact, I’d suggest that anyone who watched this nonsense will spend several days attempting to purge themselves of the memory.”

Hawke himself acknowledges the film’s social commentary, saying that much of the content can be interpreted in a variety of ways. The actor draws a distinct line, though, about one sequence in the film:

It’s a very strange oxymoron — the movie is an extremely violent film with an extremely anti-violent message. I mean, if you watch the actor Edwin Hodge run through a gated community [while] being shot at and not think of Trayvon Martin, then you’re missing the point of the movie.

At a cost of $3 million the movie had a fairly low budget for a Hollywood production.

The Purge opened on June 6 and over its opening weekend, was the number one box office draw taking in $34 million.

Obama Claims He Doesn't Want to 'Tax All Businesses Out of Business'
NYT Public Editor responds to editorial softening claim
  • I think some folks have missed the point … namely the director and the actors …

  • GarandFan

    Not very “creative”. But then, this is Hollyweed. Even way back when, StarTrek featured a similar theme.

  • jim_m

    Ironic that they produce a movie about a right wing totalitarian government just as obama is trying to implement his left wing dictatorship.

    Any bets we get more suggestions in 2016 that obama suspend elections just like we did in 2012?

    • Matt

      The film did not present any “right wing” slant to the film…there is no mention of what political party is in power in the film.

  • Commander_Chico

    Hey, Warner, did you actually see the movie?

    • warnertoddhuston

      I was writing about what the director, the actor, and another reviewer said of the movie. Is there a reason I MUST see it to do that?

      • Commander_Chico

        Seems kind of pointless to review a movie you haven’t seen.

        • sabbahillel

          The point is that he is not reviewing the movie. He is pointing out what the people who made the movie say about it. That only requires reading what they say, not forcing oneself to suffer by seeing it.

          • Commander_Chico

            I haven’t seen it, either, so I got nothin’.

            Anybody see Man of Steel yet?

          • warnertoddhuston

            OK, that made me chuckle. I haven’t seen it. Never been a big Supes fan and it looks to me that Supes is being portrayed as a Christ figure in this one. Probably wait until it is out on DVD.

          • Commander_Chico

            Nah, you gotta see a movie like that on the big screen.

            I’ll see it in a matinee during the week. There were long lines to see it yesterday, opening day.

            Probably 500 years from now people will be worshiping Superman and Batman. If you take all of the superheros, it’s a lot like the old Greco-Roman pantheon.

          • warnertoddhuston

            I can see that. Maybe the big screen is a must on this one? I felt The Avengers, all the Lord of the Rings flicks, and Star Trek were a must on the big screen. But many others will do on my wide screen TV at home. Maybe I will take in Supes at the theater. (Trek was the last one I went to the theater for and Lincoln before that).

          • SCSIwuzzy

            Superman has long been a Christ figure 😉

  • Brucehenry

    I can suspend disbelief to enjoy a movie about paranormal activity, or one that posits we’ll fight a worldwide war against zombies, or that a girl and her tin man, scarecrow, and talking lion friends will visit an Emerald City.

    But a film that wants me to believe a right-wing government could produce less than 1% unemployment, no poverty, and a zero crime rate? That’s just stupid.

    • jim_m

      Especially since we know that the only governments that have succeeded in this are repressive communist governments of the left.

  • Oysteria

    “He had lived in France and Canada for a time and noticed that the news coverage was very different outside the U.S.” Not much crime there?

    That made me laugh out loud. Apparently he’s turned a blind eye to the rowdy “youths” in France (or “yutes”, however you prefer) and his car never got torched. Or he steered waaaaay clear of certain neighborhoods where even cops won’t go. Can’t report crime if you don’t see it, right? And in Canada, as long as he’s willing to measure every word before he utters it, he won’t be brought up on charges of “insensitivity”. It’s criminal, I tells ya.

  • Matt

    It’s clear the author of this review wants to make this more about liberal Hollywood attacking conservative core values (gun, god and country), but being how I saw this film last night, I took away a view more deeper than “Left vs Right” (as we know, there really isn’t a difference anymore).

    I found it more a film with a deeper message about humanity, the implications of the poor and needy on society (they are the main victims of “The Purge”, as this is why in the film there is essentially no crime and 1% unemployment rate, all those unable to protect themselves are killed), and our acceptance to put “national security” over individual will (Orwellian “groupthink”). There is no political slant to what kind political party is in power during the film, all we know is that this “Purge” is nationally mandated and that in all likelihood the entire structure of the US Federal Government has been altered. Invoking slogans like “the new founding fathers” simply suggests that the US Constitution has been eliminated and a new set of foundational ideals have been installed (we see BOTH PARTIES guilty of having very little respect for the US Constitution and Civil Liberties in modern day America).

    I took away much more from this film than “bash conservatives”…it says a lot about the lack of humanity we have in our world, especially in America’s post 9/11 world (where we see fit to kill and persecute anyone in the name of national security). This decadent, “me me me”, greedy mindset many around us have on a day to day basis…this film is speaking on that level, not a political one.

    • You start from a faulty premise: The article above is not a review.

      • Matt

        Perhaps the editors should have chosen a more appropriate headline then? One that doesn’t insinuate that the film ITSELF isn’t a “slam” on the NRA or The Tea Party. You know, since there’s not one shred of evidence back up this claim.

  • jorionwood

    I didn’t see this way. For one, they didn’t get into that much detail about the new America except some garbage about how the economy has improved due to the stress relieved every year and the damage done being paid for. We all know that blowing money on repairs is counter-productive to an economy because it takes money away from productive areas. I could tell that those who wrote it did a half tailed job of pimping out their liberal ideology, but think about it…the family were genuinely good people that made their money honestly, selling security equipment that the people actually wanted and needed, and were publicly sympathetic to the purge just so they could avoid their house being looted when the crazies hit the street.

    The naive kid let in a WAR VETERAN that was being chased by a mob of angry, spoiled college age kids that partook in lesbian activity and wore costumes that were reminded me of that lame V occupy mask and A Clockwork Orange. They refused to comply with the will of the mob of dopeheaded punks to protect the war veteran and then fought until the very end.

    The rich neighbors hated them over how they made their money, which again was honest and benefited all mutually. Anyone who lives in an area with rich people know that there are those that hate those who make their money in certain industries, such as defense, oil, etc. The War veteran came to save the day and agreed to not kill those envious neighbors at the request of the Mrs.

    I believe that they did attempt to make it a liberal pornography but it was an epic failure and I would almost say that it was the opposite.