Behind the Scenes of Hollywood:
The Politics of ‘THE PURGE’
By Dr. Tom Snyder, Editor
The new horror thriller THE PURGE has too many disturbing themes, too many strong profanities and crude obscenities, too much violence, and too much of a liberal mindset to make it acceptable viewing. However, despite its liberal mindset and negative content, there are some interesting, provocative political points about THE PURGE that are worthy of discussion.
The other day, MOVIEGUIDE® was able to discuss some of these points with Producer Jason Blum and actor Ethan Hawke, who plays the frazzled father at the center of the story.
THE PURGE is a futuristic Twilight Zone movie that comments on American society and its penchant and fascination for violence. Wracked by escalating crime and economic problems, the American government sanctions an annual 12-hour period legalizing all criminal activity, including murder. You can’t call police, top government officials can’t be killed and are immune to the Purge, and hospitals are closed. The speculative thriller follows one family to see how far they will go to protect themselves from some vicious intruders. Can they make it through the night? Will they do the right thing?
Producer Jason Blum (who’s also associated with the occult PARANORMAL ACTIVITY series) said it was interesting to him that the movie’s script has themes in it that liberals will find appealing and themes in it that conservatives will find appealing.
“Whatever political party you’re in,” he said, “you come out of the film saying, ‘See, that affirms my beliefs,’ which I think is cool. People on the Right are like, ‘The Purge is a terrible thing. This is an example of government getting into our private lives, when they should be smaller and get out of our private lives.’ People on the Left say, ‘There are too many guns, and this is what happens when there are too many guns.’ It’s a really violent movie, and it’s supposed to get people scared and it’s supposed to get people to have a good time for an hour and a half, in a movie theater. If it also gets people talking about whether it’s a good or a bad idea, that’s a great thing, too.”
Actor Ethan Hawke, however, didn’t totally agree with Mr. Blum. Hawke said he thought of the movie more as a liberal indictment of America as a violent society.
“It’s an extremely violent film with an anti-violent message,” he said. “It’s almost an oxymoron. Our country is obsessed with violence and our right to protect our violence, and people call you unpatriotic if you’re not violent. This film heightens it; it just exaggerates it. That’s what the best Philip K. Dick stuff does, and that’s what this is trying to do.”
MOVIEGUIDE® pointed out to him, though, that, at the end of the movie, the final bad guys are stopped because a good guy has a gun pointed at them. Without that gun, the two teenagers the mother and father in the movie are trying to protect would be dead. So, we asked Mr. Hawke whether, if he were faced with such a situation, wouldn’t he like to have a gun to protect his family.
Mr. Hawke sidestepped the question and said he would rather that nobody was able to get a gun to hurt people.
“There’s some sort of knee jerk response that more walls and more guns make people safer and I’m entirely suspect to that way of thinking,” he added.
If wishes were fishes. . .
Mr. Hawke’s response to MOVIEGUIDE®’s question shows that, to many people on the left, especially left-wing spokesmen, leaders, and celebrities, politics is an emotional endeavor full of utopian plans, irrational ideals, and empty platitudes that can never be realized.
The fact is, as the ending to THE PURGE makes abundantly clear, we live in a fallen physical world and there will always be violent evil people who can only be stopped by armed individuals willing to put their lives on the line. As author Dennis Prager has said numerous times, modern pacifist movements have been unable to stop the butchery of innocent men, women, and children by such monsters as Adolf Hitler, Joe Stalin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden. And, in the past 75 years, it’s been the United States military that’s been the biggest force for liberty, justice, and even peace on this globe, not any “peace movement.”
Of course, in the Christian worldview of the Bible, the ultimate answer to man’s sinfulness and violence is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, powered by God the Holy Spirit and the Love of God the Father, which offers forgiveness and reconciliation, creates repentance and sanctification, and promotes love, patience, kindness, self-control, joy, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and even peace itself.
However, that same Gospel preaches, in Romans 13 and elsewhere, not only that government officials are ministers of God who bear the sword so that they can punish “evildoers,” ensure justice, and protect people but also that a husband is supposed to form a hedge of protection around his family, train his children properly, and love his wife so strongly that he offers up his body to protect her.
It also should be noted that, contrary to what Mr. Hawke was saying at the press conference, as scholars like John Lott, the author of MORE GUNS, LESS CRIME, have shown repeatedly, many studies now show that more guns has indeed significantly reduced gun violence in the United States.
Also, according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis of government data, the gun homicide rate is down 49 percent since 1993!
Of course, the liberal “news” media has hidden these facts and studies from the American public, so no wonder people like Mr. Hawke still cling to lamebrain liberal lies such as anti-gun hysteria.
On a side note, Producer Blum discussed why he puts families in danger in his movies.
“Good suspense and horror is really about creating situations that are relatable,” he said, “and throwing a wrench in it and watching how people respond to it. I think the most honest responses you get to watch are in houses and people’s most private spaces, like the bedroom or in your own intimate space. That’s where you feel safest. So, when you’re threatened in the place you feel safest, it makes for the scariest situations.”
MOVIEGUIDE® agrees that putting a family in peril (like putting “a damsel in distress”) can be one of the best ways to create a really captivating story with strong jeopardy that people can relate to and that can stimulate people’s minds, hearts, souls, and emotions.
However, you don’t need so much violence, and certainly no foul language or other lewd content, to do it.