REVIEW: THE PURGE
SYNOPSIS: If on one night every year, you could commit any crime without facing consequences, what would you do? In The Purge, a speculative thriller that follows one family over the course of a single night, four people will be tested to see how far they will go to protect themselves when the vicious outside world breaks into their home.
In an 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.
REVIEW: Written and directed by James DeMonaco (Assault on Precinct 13, 2005), The Purge has one of those types of breakthrough concepts that are simply amazing when given any real thought. And by that, I mean the movie evokes the same sorta’ feeling about a motion picture concept, like The Matrix did when it first landed in theaters, in1999. At least that is the way I felt when I first heard of it.
The Purge is a movie that explores the concept of blowing off a little steam in order to create a safer society. And I’m sure that many of the “talking heads” may say that this is not be a bad idea for a movie and arguably could be a bit of a game-changer if done correct. However, DeMonaco’s take on the idea doesn't really hold together very well, once it all plays out. It starts from a premise that seems poised to provoke moral thought. Questions arise, such as: Should society be allowed to weed out less desirable elements by natural selection? Who should decide who lives or dies? All very valid questions, if only the movie would lead us, the viewers, to some sorta conclusions. Be it as it may, it’s sad to say, DeMonaco really bungles it completely.
The flick quickly slithers in to being just another horror film wannabe, confining itself to a single home, where lots of horrible things happen. How new is that concept for a movie where folks are boxed in to an environment, such as a house in the forest or suburbs, with people fighting for their lives to survive one single night of hell? In fact, I would say it’s akin to many others, such as Cabin in the Woods (2012) and Paranormal Activities (franchise), with the only significant difference being that one has a nation’s problems, taking place in one house and the others have a localized problem taking place in one house. I found it preposterous for the idea of a problem being so large that it affects an entire nation, but somehow DeMonaco found it necessary to confine the entire movie/concept to a single house in the suburbs. The entire country has one night (12 hours) to go out there and commit any crime possible, without any repercussions from law enforcement and all DeMonaco could do with that concept is bring us an updated version of The Strangers (2008)? Come onnnnnn!!! What an absolute disappointment!
A movie about a repressed nation finding release in chaos could work and the concept is promising, in the right hands. And all we can do is hope that sometime in the near future, with a Spielberg or a Tarantino onboard; such an amazing concept will be brought to fruition. Unfortunately, besides its forward-thinking breakthrough perception, the film doesn't have much going for it. Therefore, I feel compelled to say that this is certainly not worth going to the theaters to see and I believe that it only deserves three stars out of five for respectable acting and a having a cutting-edge concept
By Movi-Man Stan
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