So I'm now three movies down that I need to squeeze out some reviews for. Wow...that did not sound good at all. But y'all know what I meant. I probably should do a quick hit on all of them and combine them into one post. If they were lesser flicks, I certainly would do that. Can't very well go that route with these three as they are all worthy of their own post. Especially since I have been waiting anxiously to see all three ever since first seeing the trailers.
"The Purge" is yet another movie to explore a future America where society has gotten away from us a bit. This one is a little different though. Although it's not an apocalyptic setting, you get the feel that something apocalyptic-like may have occurred to set the groundwork for this new America. An America where crime is at an all-time low. That's because the "new founding fathers" have allowed for one night a year where ALL crime is legal. James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) and his family think they will be safe and sound yet this again during the annual Purge. Until his son Charlie (Max Burkholder) feels sympathy for a strange man on the run and lets him in their house. It puts in motion a chain of events that results in the entire family fighting for their lives.
I never was clear on how exactly crime is at an all-time low just because of the annual Purge. What happens during the rest of the year if someone actually does commit a crime? Is any and everything punishable by death to prevent it? And even so, wouldn't there still be crime anyway? Because either way you'll still have those social deviants that could care less about what laws are in place.
Theoretically, it would seem like an annual Purge would be a great idea. You get one night to vent all your frustrations with no holds barred with NO consequences. Who wouldn't love that? But all I kept thinking is what about the other 364 days of year? So you have to keep all that pent up aggression in during that entire time? Then, you run the risk of getting seriously hurt yourself while you're out wreaking havoc. Yeah..no thanks.
Speaking of social deviants, the main guy trying to get into the Sandin home (Rhys Wakefield) was an amazing character. He was like a new age Malcolm McDowell from "A Clockwork Orange". At the same time, he was exactly what you would envision one of those trust fund babies to be like if they had free reign to do whatever they wanted to with no repercussions. Wait...they pretty much already have that now. Anyway, dude was like a maniacal comic evil where you KNEW he wasn't going to make it through to the end but you were actually looking forward to seeing what type of damage he could do in the meantime. Or maybe it was just me.
I could nitpick even more details about the flick while at the same time giving away crucial plot points. Like how they made it blatantly obvious from the beginning that the neighbors would use the Purge to try to get even...or how James acknowledged their home wasn't totally impenetrable, which makes sense, but you would think that it would at least take more than a sturdy pick-up to break into it...or how the flick was entirely predictable yet the masochistic violence still made it worth it...or trying to rationalize how much time, money and resources it would cost the government to clean up the aftermath of such an event...not to mention the insurance claims...but I digress...
Although I do wish they would have given us a little insight into how the annual Purge came to be, the movie overall was fairly entertaining. Moreso than "Sinister" (also starring Hawke in a role that wasn't a whole lot different) which was made by the same producers. The action and thrills were spaced out sufficiently enough to make sure the film wasn't too long or too short. "The Purge" turns out being an interesting take on a 'what if' future America scenario that is worth checking out.
My rating: B