The Purge has an interesting concept ripe for satire and/or social commentary. Once a year, during the government sanctioned “Purge,” all crime (including murder) is legal for a 12-hour, overnight period (that means no emergency services either) – so basically like a Hunger Games for criminals and revenge seekers. Thanks to this one terrifying night, where people run around like wannabe assassins and horror movie villains, the year round crime rate and other unsavory aspects of society (like unemployment, etc.) are at all-time lows.
But this, like most things, all boils down to money. Wealthy people can afford protection – security devices, gated neighborhoods, and ultimately modifying their homes into fortresses – whereas the poor, especially the sick, weak, and/or homeless, are basically left defenseless and fodder for those so inclined and looking to release some culturally accepted carnage.
. . . Nope. For a seemingly normal, suburban, well-to-do family they sure have made quite a few enemies. The most pressing of which arrives midway through the night in the form of a young, well-dressed, well-spoken, well-mannered (except for all the killing), and clearly demented mob of masked revelers, eager to partake in their newly ordained right to “hunt.” When one of their targets, a homeless (though he appears rather agreeably dressed and extremely healthy/fit) war vet (never mentioned explicitly, but he is wearing dog tags) escapes their clutches, they doggedly track him to Sandin's home where he was foolishly granted asylum by the oversensitive young son.
|C'mon kid, really?|
But somewhere in the midst of the movie, the normally calm and semi-pompous Ethan Hawke turns into a fully capable action star (perhaps a Liam Neeson-like rebirth for the actor in action movies). Eventually, after nearly everyone makes one terrible, life-threatening decision after another, the events erupt into a very violent and bloody extended sequence that leaves many dead. The movie then twists and turns into a largely appropriate and satisfactory finale.
|Of course, this movie would have been over in 5 minutes if Liam Neeson had shown up.|
|Oh yeah, we hadn't thought of that . . .|
This review originally appeared on Chris's official review page (the one he actually gets paid for) on Examiner.com: http://www.examiner.com/indie-movie-in-new-orleans/chris-henson