Cert: 15 Runtime: 85 mins Director: James DeMonaco Cast: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane and Max Burkholder
Decriminalised Murder. An outlet for American Rage
When I heard the premise of The Purge I was excited. It’s based in a 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.Let us begin with perhaps the most painfully unrealistic part of “The Purge”: the plot. The idea behind this whole futuristic America is that the Economy is down and Crime is up. It is just universally accepted that the cause of all these problems is built up aggression within the human population. In order to correct this, the United States Government decides that it would be a good idea to give the public a day to “release the aggression”. So, one day of each year, they will have an annual “Purge” where all crime is legal (including murder. They put a lot of emphasis on murder being legal). Somehow, magically, this does help the Economy and Crime overall is down for the rest of the year. Because if people get out all that anger in one day, they will not feel the need to commit any more crimes for the rest of the year.
I’m calling bull sh*t on this one. This would never EVER never ever ever work or even be considered in real life. I understand that not all movies need to be realistic to be good, but this movie is kind of trying to go for a realistic feel. Now, not only is the dialogue bad in “The Purge”, but so are the characters. The main characters throughout the movie consistently make stupid decisions and totally change their opinions in the blink of an eye. But the worst characters of them all have got to be “the bad guys”. I’m gonna call them “the bad guys” because there were a lot of them, and I don’t remember their names if they were even given. Without spoiling anything,at one point there is a group of people that approach the house to terrorize Ethan Hawke and his family. This group is heavily armed and set on killing off the filth of society or “the swine” as their leader constantly calls them.For no particular reason they all wear clown masks, dresses, suits, etc. They jump around, act goofy, scream, laugh and play on swing sets… I think this was all meant to make the movie a bit more creepy and eerie, but it just felt forced and left me cringing throughout. There was nothing to justify why they were acting like circus performers. The ending was disappointing. There are numerous moral issues brought up throughout the film. None of them are solved. In the end, some people die, some people live, and it’s just over. It’s almost like James DeMonaco just gave up, and couldn’t figure out how to end the movie in a decent way. So he just threw together a little stupid humorous bit at the end.