The Purge: Election YearWriter/director James DeMonico had no idea that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for president in 2016. Nobody did. Least of all, Trump himself. But if Trump served two terms in office, then The Purge might be a vision of 2024, with a Trump successor running against another Hillary—a White man against a White woman. The Hunger Games and similar recent films have portrayed what might happen if the people transferred power to a dictatorship, an evil that may seem necessary to some in light of gridlocked government today. The Purge: Election Year, third in the series, is far more realistic in its premises: A White clique seizes power in a coup 15 years earlier. The clique then consolidates power. Annoyed that money is being spent on minorities, government benefits are drastically cut, and an annual purge takes place for 12 hours on the first day of spring in which anyone with a gun (thanks to the NRA), including terrorists invited into the United States, may kill as many minorities and defenseless poor as possible, thereby ensuring that the government budget will not result in a deficit due to the presumed overdependence on government help. The slogan “Purge and Purify,” articulated by the White “predatory capitalist” power structure suggests that America can become great again, with the ruling class considering itself the second set of New Founding Fathers. But in 2024 (or whenever), a White woman, Senator Charlie Roan (played by Elizabeth Mitchell), decides to run for the presidency against the establishment candidate, legitimated when candidate Edwidge Owens (Kyle Secor) puts on his robes as minister of the church of 1 percenters. Wanting to stop the carnage and injustice, Charlie is even described by one Black supporter, who tries to wage counterrevolutionary violence, as “one of our Whites.” But thus far the present review treats the plot as logical and straightforward. The actual story is punctuated with loud noises, incredible violence, and thus is an action film, not one for academics, business people, or professionals, who may walk out early, horrified as those in attendance (possibly minorities) gobble their popcorn in full enjoyment over a plot that resonates with their understanding of how they are treated as colonial subjects in American society today.  The climax of the film focuses on election returns of that contest. So far, no reviewer has been a spoiler on the outcome except to note the contradiction that ruling elites might hold free elections in which an opposition candidate actually has a chance for victory.  MH

The InnocentsDuring the end of 1945, the French Red Cross was sent to Poland to assist in healing the wounds of war for French soldiers who were prisoners of war in German camps. Civilians were supposed to rely on the overburdened Polish Red Cross. However, Russian soldiers raped many Polish women, including nuns in a convent. Desperate for medical attention, one of the nuns sneaks out of the convent to the French Red Cross and persuades intern Madeleine Pauliac aka Mathilde Beaulieu in the film (Lou de Laâge) to help. Repeated visits occur, one with her colleague Samuel (Vincent Macaigne), as the nuns give birth despite a reprimand for going AWOL from French Red Cross duties from the colonel in charge (Pascal Elso). The new mothers are assured that their babies are to be adopted by townspeople, with Mother Superior (Agata Kulesz) responsible for placement yet mindful that the convent would be closed if word of the rapes and births reached Soviet authorities, which had taken control of the country. But if that were the story, director Anne Fontaine would not build up to the main secret of the film for which the Political Film Society has nominated The Innocents as best film exposé and best film on human rights of 2016.  MH

The Debt
Elvis & Nixon
Eye in the Sky
Free State of Jones
A Hologram for the King
Hostile Border
The Innocents
Kill Zone 2
Money Monster
The Purge: Election Year
Seoul Searching
Son of Saul
Stealing Cars
Sworn Virgin
A War
Where to Invade Next
Whisky Tango Foxtrot
The Witch

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