Reviewed by: Brian C. Johnson
Why are many people violent?
sin and the Bible
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
murder in the Bible
|Featuring:||Lena Headey … Mary Sandin
Ethan Hawke … James Sandin
Tony Oller … Henry
Adelaide Kane … Zoey
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“One night a year, all crime is legal. Survive the night.”
Sequel: “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014)
What would you do if there were no rules, no laws, and no repercussions for the next twelve hours?
This is the premise of “The Purge,” written and directed by James DeMonaco (“The Negotiator”). Set in the not too distant future, the government has instituted an annual program to control the most antisocial among us. Called The Purge, the government grants permission and amnesty for individuals to rage and pillage—even maim and kill—to let our primal urges run amuck for exactly twelve hours. In true Darwinian fashion, only the strong will survive.
Ethan Hawke returns to a darker character, much like his 2012 movie, “Sinister,” and plays James Sandin, a builder of security systems designed to protect families from the annual killing spree. Sandin and his family live on a veritable compound, and are whiling away the evening, seemingly safe from the melee that is occurring outside. When his son, Charlie, notices a man who has been wounded during the fighting and brings him into the house, the Sandin sanctuary becomes the target of attention of a horde that is bent on mayhem and harm.
Let’s just cut to the chase. The whole premise of this film should make the Christian viewer squirm (anyone with a heart, really). There should be no question in anyone’s mind that this film is ultra-violent—it is a government sanctioned killing spree, after all. Blood and gore are everywhere! There are some attempts to shield the viewer, but moments later brains and entrails are abounding. Bad language and sensuality are present—par for the course for films like these.
On a philosophical note, though, the film raises important questions that we as Christians should be thinking about and processing. The Purge rests upon the 19th century “nature vs. nurture” debate. The 2022 governmental leaders suggest that since we are all animals anyway, shouldn’t we just succumb to our basest instincts? This is the essence of the necessity of living, not by man’s ideas or morality, but by the authority and Word of God. Jeremiah 17:9 declares the wickedness of man’s hearts, and it is essential to have a changed heart and mind. (Perhaps our leaders in 2013 need to learn this lesson now!)
There are some good messages here. Charlie seems to be operating from the biblical story of the Good Samaritan; he saw the man had been harmed and wanted to help. Mary Sandin (Lena Headey—“The Brothers Grimm,” “300”) has a choice to remember her humanity as she is faced with killing her own would-be killers—what would YOU do? These are good messages, and certainly there is some theological fodder here, but, honestly, you need not watch this movie to have these types of conversations. Stay home and read your Bible. Join a small group study. Go to church. Your time will be much better spent.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.