The Purge: Anarchy | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Purge: Anarchy

It's broader and marginally deeper than its predecssor, but still pretty junky

It's 2023, and it's "Purge Night," the annual evening during which murder is legal and even encouraged. It clears out the troublesome underclass who have nowhere to hide; killing is one's patriotic duty toward keeping America safe and prosperous. Or at least that's what the government assures us.

Yeah, the set-up of James DeMonaco's horror thriller is some twisted shit, but it's probably fair to say we get the movies we deserve. This is a junky thriller, but in its own scrambled way, it's got something to say about the American propensity for violence, our dysfunctional relationship with government and related authorities, and the real-world effects of letting income inequality play out "naturally."

Last year's The Purge focused on one affluent family, and was chiefly a home-invasion tale with predictable results. This time, we're out in the streets with a small band of good folks unlucky enough to be stranded on Purge Night, and then hunted. The broader issues regarding class, race and state-sanctioned violence are more explicit in this sort-of-sequel, and these ordinary people are more sympathetic. Anarchy is still plenty exploitive, but is at least more provocative (without taxing any brains) than the first outing. That's not a recommendation, necessarily, but you can't deny that a lot of the material feels timely and worth exploring.

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