"The First Purge" is a 97-minute "f--k you" to Donald Trump and the Conservative administration in which he reigns.
Like its predecessors (or rather sequels), the film contains many parallels to our current state of affairs; however, the franchise's prequel in particular contains less political subtext and is more explicit.
The film begins with news footage of an American landscape that is all too familiar: protests are taking place in the streets, the economy is struggling and the nation is divided. Because of all these socioeconomic issues, the current ruling government -- the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) -- decides to conduct an experiment created by a psychologist (played by Marisa Tomei) to see if letting people get out their anger on one night could ultimately help lessen crime and violence the other 364 days a year.
This experiment ultimately becomes the first "purge." The initial test -- which later becomes an annual holiday -- is confined to Staten Island and permits all crime-related activity (which, ironically, was the only New York borough in which Trump won the majority vote IRL).
To keep normal citizens on the island, the NFFA encourages Staten Islanders to stay in their homes during the purge by offering them $5,000. In addition, depending on how much you participate (a.k.a. commit more crimes) the purger would receive even more compensation.
The thriller follows Nya (Lex Scott Davis, "SuperFly"), a poor, young woman who is against the experiment and just wants to protect her younger brother, Isiah (Joivan Wade, "Youngers"). Her ex-boyfriend, Dmitri (Y'lan Noel, "Insecure") is a wealthy drug lord who strives to protect Nya and the island. The protagonists decide to stay on the island to protect everyone but don't participate. Unfortunately, not everything goes as planned.
Read on for all the ways that "The First Purge" is a middle finger to the Trump administration.
The fictional NFFA profiles minorities as the group most likely to commit violence.
"The First Purge" completely debunks this notion. Aside from one creepy looking character by the name of Skeletor, there aren't many people on Staten Island who are bloodthirsty. Most of those who agree to participate in the purge and stay on the island (which includes payment and neon contacts), just want to party.
Because of this, there isn't any crime on the streets. In other words, people are not committing crimes and participating in the purge. To Tomei's character, Dr. Uphale, these results are surprising -- as she assumed that the non-white majority would want to kill one another.
"This socioeconomic group is not behaving the way I expected," she says in the film.
But the NFFA needs results, and they need the purge to work. Therefore, if people aren't really participating, what are they going to do?
It's not a secret that governments often lie; however, the lengths of deception the NFFA is willing to go to is absolutely appalling. Since the majority of citizens of Staten Island aren't desperate to kill each other and the success of the experiment is of the upmost importance, the NFFA decides to unleash groups of former mercenaries wearing Ku Klux Klan robes, racist masks and Nazi uniforms to attack the city and kill people.
Since they are all pretty much masked (and the government makes sure the media sees what they want people to see) the purge is considered a success in the eyes of the New Founding Fathers, because from the outside, no one will know that the murderers -- or rather "purgers" -- aren't Staten Islanders. The film turns violent when the citizens (like our protagonists) who didn't want to participate end up being forced to in order to protect their city.
At the same time, as Dr. Uphale begins to realize what the NFFA has done, she tries to stop them. "What have I done?" she says. But she knows too much and is therefore murdered by the NFFA.
Trump's "Grab 'Em By the Pussy" Line Makes an Cameo
"The First Purge" definitely contains some comedic moments of relief, which in a film like this is extremely necessary. But one moment in particular really stood out.
As Nya (Scott Davis) is running from purgers while frantically searching for her brother, she runs into a tripwire and is pulled into a manhole. Her captor wears a baby doll face mask. As he tries to pull her into the hole, he ends up grabbing her crotch area.
Nya pulls away and begins to run from the assaulter. As she escapes, we hear her yell, "pussy grabbing motherf--ker!"
The line is no doubt a reference to Trump's controversial "grab 'em by the pussy" Access Hollywood tape comments.
Other highlights: The NFFA Chief of Staff looks way too similar to Sean Spicer. There is no way that is a coincidence. Also, Dolores (played by Mugga) is the comedic relief and scene-stealer of the film.