The Purge is a warning.
The first was way back in 2013, before Donald Trump was elected president, and The Handmaid’s Tale redefined our understanding of America as the totalitarian theocracy, Gilead.
Since then there’s been two sequels, a perquel, two seasons of a television show, all revelling in the idea that lawlessness, for one night of the year, purges the population’s rage. It’s blood-letting as balance for an unjust society.
The underlying tenet of this night of violence is inequality. By making violence more than acceptable, necessary, it offers those at the bottom of the pile a chance to take revenge for the injustices they feel, the violence done to them. In a society that believes might is right, the purge is justification, reinforcing business as usual.
The plot for this iteration is simple. Two families, one American the other Mexican, flee the forever purger’s revolution, battling their way across Texas to Mexico. The good guys survive and protect their families by killing purgers. The story is equally heroic. The mildly racist American learns to respect his Mexican allies, fighting beside them as they seek sanctuary in Mexico. The action is fast, the explosions large, and the violence intense.
The purge represents more than a comment on the world we’re all surviving, it’s a prediction. Inequality, enforced by violence, benefits those with resources and punishes those without. It thrives in the simplistic polarisation of us and them, and appeals to the authoritarian mindset of the far-right. It’s entirely logical the managed civil unrest of the purge, is the catalyst for a nationalist revolution. It’s what would’ve happened if the January 6th insurrection had taken hold. The ensuing violence would’ve seen America turned into Gilead, making the New Founding Fathers commanders, and Purgers their Eyes.