Social Commentary in The Forever Purge

A promotional movie image for "The Forever Purge". The name of the movie is shown in big block letters in the top right. A heavily armed man wearing face paint and a cowboy hat with attached bull horns sits astride a horse wearing a horse skull as a mask and painted with the US flag.

We watched “The Forever Purge” a few days ago and I felt like it was the weakest in the series so far. The acting was good. The sets and costumes were amazing, though there were quite a few instances where scenes and shots were lined up and slowed down as if in anticipation of screenshots, Wonder Woman style, which is a trend that is starting to get tiresome.

The main problem I had with the film is that social commentary was just too heavy-handed and clumsy. At some points, I expected all of the action to stop, the character to turn and look full into the camera, and for a “So kids…” monologue to ensue. It was too preachy.

This movie was a deviation from the rest of the series, which focused on human nature and what people would do in severe circumstances. It was obvious that this movie was about Trump and Trump’s perceived cultural legacy, and it’s a shame to see how much Trump affected the minds of so many people.

I enjoy social commentary in movies, but make it a part of the movie itself instead of being explicitly stated. Make it complex and provoking, but let us figure it out as we digest the story and relate it to our own lives.

I’m tired of this idea that specific narratives and ideologies need to be shoved in people’s faces all of the time, baldly and without nuance. I’m reminded of the actions of certain groups who migrated from Twitter to Mastodon (Fediverse) after Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. They had an explicitly stated desire to politicize everything on Mastodon as much as possible with current and former US political issues. One user commented that Mastodon users wanted to have a quiet space to discuss hobbies and interests and they had to specifically disrupt that to amplify their message. How vulgar. How perverse. How ironic!

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