The Forever Purge movie review (2021)

But in the end, the film retreats into “we’re all in this together, can’t we get along?” posturing, landing in a centrist-to-conservative mind-space wherein we can all agree that heavily armed and openly bigoted terror groups run by Anglo-Americans are bad, and that wanting to murder rich white bigoted exploiters, while perhaps historically comprehensible, is also bad, in relation to the Ten Commandments anyway, and that once such extremists are dealt with, we can all get back to being decent to each other, which is the True American Way, deep down. 

Our heroes find a sympathetic ear in the form of Juan’s employer, ranch owner Caleb Tucker (Will Patton). Tucker is a unicorn: a wealthy but politically liberal Anglo Texan who volunteers, while being terrorized by a white leftist and his goons, that Americans are living on stolen land, and that his tormenters’ refusal to admit that is a sign of their own unexamined privilege. “You got no right to complain about the very system that you’re supporting,” he says. His son and heir apparent, Dylan Tucker (Josh Lucas), is initially presented as a straightforward racist, but the movie later suggests that his attitude (that the races should stick with their own kind, an idea Juan seems amenable to) is at least less horrible than roving white supremacist gangs’ desire to kill anyone who doesn’t look like them. (“Speak English,” they keep ordering brown-skinned people, sometimes while city blocks are on fire.) 

The plot eventually leads to a racially mixed bomber-crew-assortment of characters, including Dylan’s pregnant wife Cassie (Cassidy Freeman), running for the Mexican border to escape American violence (an admittedly clever reversal of how this narrative typically works; Canada is also offering Americans asylum for a limited time, as long as they come unarmed). We’re better than this, “The Forever Purge” seems be saying. Are we, though? Native Americans and the descendants of slaves would disagree. But that’s beyond the scope of this review, and apparently not within the purview of Demonaco’s expanded universe of societal collapse and “Children of Men“-style extended tracking shots through carnage on main street.

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