Photo: Purifiers

Rated R

FEATURE FILM

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The Purifiers

A dystopian present ruled by corrupt government bureaucrats and rogue martial arts gangs. Coming soon to a country near you...


dread

Everyone needs a little pulpy entertainment. The Purifiers updates a classic story of rival gang wars for the age of mixed martial arts and fight clubs. When a charismatic capitalist crime lord takes advantage of a broken system, only the Purifiers, a small but passionate resistance gang, will to take to the streets to fight for justice. Is this a far-fetched action fantasy or a chilling prophecy of contemporary politics? You decide.

Yes, that is everyone’s favorite hobbit, Dominic Monaghan from The Lord of the Rings, kicking ass as the leader of the gang. The always excellent Kevin McKidd (Trainspotting, Grey’s Anatomy) turns Moses, the oligarchic overlord hellbent on dominating the streets, into a compelling villain… who can also kick a little ass when he needs to.


Purify This

Everyone needs a little pulpy entertainment. Inspired by Walter Hill’s cult classic The Warriors, writer/director Richard Jobson updates the story of rival gang war for the age of mixed martial arts and fight clubs. And yes, that is one of the hobbits (Dominic Monaghan) kicking ass as the lead member of the Purifiers, while the always excellent Kevin McKidd (Tommy from Trainspotting and Dr. Owen from Grey's Anatomy) twists Moses into a compelling villain/harbinger of 21st century demagogues. The dirty little secret of every B-movie is that there’s always some incisive social commentary lurking beneath the surface. While no one’s claiming that Jobson could predict the future – only the writers of The Simpsons have that superpower – his offers a critique of political tribalism and corruption that likely resonates more today than it did at the time of the film’s release. For bonus content, music nerds will recognize Jobson from his time as the lead singer Scottish punk band Skids. So take that, anyone who says you can’t play guitar and make movies at the same time.

Director Richard Jobson has stated his goal in trying to create a new style of Scottish filmmaking with this movie. At the same time, his movie is an extended homage to an American cult classic, Walter Hill's The Warriors. The Purifiers also draws heavily on Asian martial arts cinema. As we consider questions of cultural evolution and changing notions of identity, where does this film fall into that conversation? Is Jobson trying to depict Scotland as a more complex society than a bunch of white drug addicts and old dudes in kilts? Or does he unwittingly engage in cultural appropriation to differentiate his film from the social realism of other Scottish filmmakers?

Despite his background as a musician and songwriter, Jobson outsourced the music of this film to other composers. The soundtrack also features two songs by the English alternative band Doves. On lower budget projects, filmmakers often take on other roles out of necessity, which can include music. A famous example of this is John Carpenter writing the now iconic music from Halloween. Perhaps Jobson felt like he wanted to devote his attentions entirely towards directing the film. Or maybe he felt like he had the money in the budget to hire outside composers and license an up-and-coming band's songs for the soundtrack. This brings up the question as to whether the movie might have been more successful on a lower budget, forcing Jobson to be more creative in his storytelling and exerting more input into the final product.

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