Monday, June 17, 2013

The Purge - Movie Review

Starring Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Edwin Hodge, Rhys Wakefield and Tony Oller.  
Directed by James DeMonaco.


This is a terrific Twilight Zone premise that raises some interesting questions, but it never really explores them as it devolves into a choppy house-under-siege movie.

It's America 2022.  In 2017, the "new Founding Fathers" voted on The Purge, a 12-hour period where once a year, all crime is legal, including murder (with exceptions for high government officials).  Hawke is the dad here with the job of selling security systems to rich people who want to protect their homes from the Purge each year.

Hawke's family chooses not to participate, rather they stay in their home and watch the news, but when the son lets a homeless man inside, it attracts the crowd of murderous youth who'd been in pursuit.

Now there's plenty of subtext going on, with class warfare, the haves and have-nots, human nature.  The movie hints that the reason the law passed was so rich people would have an excuse to kill poor people, because most rich people secretly just want to kill.  What we actually get is a house with the power killed, so there's a lot of movement lit by nothing but flashlights, as psychotic rich kids dance and laugh while they wait to get their bloodlust satiated.

I don't mind that a sequel was greenlit, because there's so much more filmmakers could do with this premise.  The reality of what the movie is is a letdown from what the movie could have been.

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