Monday, 29 July 2013

Nothing could be worse

I watched The Purge on the weekend. (Rotten Tomatoes Synopsis below)
If on one night every year, you could commit any crime without facing consequences, what would you do? In The Purge, a speculative thriller that follows one family over the course of a single night, four people will be tested to see how far they will go to protect themselves when the vicious outside world breaks into their home. In an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity-including murder-becomes legal. The police can't be called. Hospitals suspend help. It's one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment. On this night plagued by violence and an epidemic of crime, one family wrestles with the decision of who they will become when a stranger comes knocking. When an intruder breaks into James Sandin's (Ethan Hawke) gated community during the yearly lockdown, he begins a sequence of events that threatens to tear a family apart. Now, it is up to James, his wife, Mary (Lena Headey), and their kids to make it through the night without turning into the monsters from whom they hide. Directed by James DeMonaco (writer of Assault on Precinct 13 and The Negotiator), The Purge is produced by Jason Blum of Blumhouse (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister), Platinum Dunes' partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form (The Amityville Horror, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), as well as S├ębastien Kurt Lemercier (Assault on Precinct 13).(c) Universal

My first reaction was that is was nonsensical, but considering it came out before the stand your ground killing of Trayvon Martin, prescient.

Then by pure coincidence I watched The Grey Zone.
The true story of Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, a Hungarian Jew chosen by Josef Mengele to be the head pathologist at Auschwitz. Nyiszli was one of Auschwitz's Sonderkommandos - Special Squads of Jewish prisoners placed by the Nazis in the excruciating moral dilemma of helping to exterminate fellow Jews in exchange for a few more months of life. Together, the Sonderkommandos struggled to organize the only armed revolt that would ever take place at Auschwitz. As the rebellion is about to commence, a group from the unit discovers a 14-year-old girl who has miraculously survived a gassing. A catalyst for their desperate attempt at personal redemption, the men become obsessed with saving this one child, even if doing so endangers the uprising which could save thousands. To what terrible lengths are we willing to go to save our own lives, and what in turn would we sacrifice to save the lives of others?Written by Sujit R. Varma

This was the bleakest most repulsive movie I have ever seen. It makes Schindler's List look like a Disney film. What makes it so horrifying is it is a true account of what actually happened. If this could happen in a modern Germany, the Purge could definitely happen in Modern America.

In the movie commander of Auschwitz Sonderkommandos Eric Muhsfield  is given a relatively sympathetic portrayal. His character portrayed with chilling detachment by Harvey Keitel rationalizes his actions with a compelling case that everyone is just a number or part of the process, the process demands and everyone must give, resistance is futile.(the same theme as Fast Food Nation) That he was in the same kill or be killed position as the sonderkommandos.  The evidence is what actually happened, and what depths humans will sink to to preserve their life if only for a few more days. The movie seems to suggest he was just doing his duty. In reality both he and Rudolf Hoss were a monsters beyond comprehension. Thankfully they were both executed for war crimes. Just as an aside, people were executed for waterboarding in post WWII war crime trails.

The ability of modern propagandists makes Goebbels look like a kindergarten student. The first move is to isolate the individual, flatter them for their special abilities. That is why it is so dangerous to promote individual rights, like stand your ground. Freedom is used as a cover for tyranny, and the last refuge of a scoundrel is patriotism. The average individual person is not equipped to out think, the group efforts of special interests, or individuals who have the resources to create mass thought.

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