'Purge' sequel revisits near-future nightmare



LOS ANGELES, Veronique Dupont- The gulf between rich and poor; America's culture of violence; freedom pushed to its extreme limits: "The Purge: Anarchy" may be primarily an action movie, but it broaches some highly political themes.
The film, a sequel to the 2013 surprise hit original, follows the same concept: set in the near future, in order to keep crime rates down there is an annual "purge" when for 12 hours all crime is legal, and no emergency aid available.



The first film focused on an attack on a wealthy family for harboring the target of a murderous syndicate. The sequel follows five characters battling to survive a night together on the streets of Los Angeles.
Shot in LA's business district it is more spectacular than last year's "The Purge," and is more of a action thriller than the first one, which was essentially a horror flick. The action of the movie, released Friday in the United States, takes place in 2023, the seventh year of the annual "purge."
"So theoretically it starts in two years. It doesn't allow you to distance yourself like in a science fiction film that's farther away in the future," actor Zach Gilford told AFP.
"It makes you think 'God, what if this would happen here and now?' added Gilford, who plays a motorist left stranded with his wife in a broken down car at the start of the purge.
And Los Angeles in 2023 is strikingly similar to Los Angeles in 2014. There are no futuristic gadgets or technology.
"It was a very conscious move by the director," said Gilford. "It's not like a fantasy sci fi where everybody wears costumes."
In a modern US world where shootings are becoming tragically routine, the film's "constitutional right to purge" evokes an extrapolation of the right to bear arms.
"I'm hoping to reflect something in American society about how we look at violence. It's very different than other places in the world," said director James DeMonaco.
- Purging in comfort -
Frank Grillo, the main actor, said the "new founding fathers" -- who are referred to in the film as a government-like authority -- was a play on the founding fathers that is used to justify rights like that to bear arms.
"The new founding fathers -- it's a poke to say that the old founding fathers failed us; that the government is not working in taking care of the people," he told AFP.
Grillo plays a former soldier who wants to avenge the death of his son but becomes the protector of his four companions in misfortune.
The film also plays on the gap between rich and poor by depicting wealthy families who "buy" people to "purge in the comfort of their own home."
A resistance leader, Carmelo, calls for the have-nots to take up arms to attack the haves, vowing: "Change will come when their blood spills."
Grillo said the moral of the movie is that "we must take care of each other, otherwise there will be a civil war in the world."
Following the box office success of the first film, this one was made with a budget of $12 million, four times that of the original. But it remains modest in Hollywood terms.
"Everything went into the movie except maybe 8 dollars that went to us," joked Grillo, who revealed that the actors will only be paid as a percentage of profits of the film.
"The Purge" ended up making some $90 million globally, a huge profit on its tiny budget.
Grillo said he hopes there will be at least one more sequel.
"There have already been talks about where do we go with the third, and that it would be interesting to concentrate on where the resistance led by Carmelo would go," he said.
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Saturday, July 19th 2014
Veronique Dupont
           


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