“We’re gonna make it through tonight and everything’s gonna be okay.” James
“Nothing is ever going to be okay again.” Zoey
One night a year, citizens are allowed to release their inner frustrations by robbing, stealing and, most importantly, committing murder thanks to the New Founding Fathers of America. For 12 hours, the annual night of purge allows American citizens to right the wrongs done to them by neighbors and strangers. The government not only sanctions the mayhem, but all public safety services from fire and rescue, to police and hospitals are also suspended. The purge has become a "natural" method of population and crime control where the rich prosper and the poor become extinct - or do they?
James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) lives in an affluent section of Los Angeles. The company he works for sells home security systems to protect homeowners from the dangers of purge night, even his own home is protected by his company. In fact, this year he has sold so many systems, including to all of his neighbors, that he has been awarded as a top seller. Unfortunately Sandin will soon find that neither wealth, nor a high speed security system can protect you from evil or jealousy.
The purge starts, the gates drop down and the Sandins are safe, or are they? Evil lurks not only outside, but inside the house. Do you ever know who you can really trust? Did you make your teenager’s boyfriend mad? On purge night he can come after you with a gun.
Unfortunately for Sandin, his children don’t believe in purging and his youngest son (Max Burkholder) lifts the gates to allow a bloodied stranger to enter the house, sparking a terror-filled 12 hours.
The Purge raises some very strong ethical questions. At what price would you defend your family? If you had to defend your family, what actions would you ask them to take to defend their home? One concept the Purge does demonstrate is that no matter how moral you may think you are, a time may come when you need to act against everything you believe in – not to save your home, but to save your loved ones. It also further demonstrates that sometimes you have to take a stand and protect the less fortunate. You may just find that person is the one who eventually will save your life.
Most of the actors did a fine job playing their respective roles. Do you want to see a scary bad guy? Rhys Wakefield does an excellent job as a scholar turned scary. Identified only as the “Polite Stranger”, his educated and wealthy character spewing murderous intent was pretty scary.
Watching the film does occasionally require intense concentration, not because of the content, but the rather dark scenes where the action is lit only by a flashlight and the fast action sequences had the camera man struggling to catch up. Critics, who like realism and detail, may be disappointed in the film and may need a gentle reminder that it’s only a movie with which Hollywood has taken its usual liberties. For example, one of the comments I read was regarding the Class 4 weapons which were banned on Purge night. According to some viewers, these weapons don’t exist in the U.S. These viewers may need a gentle reminder that the movie is set in 2022, a not too distant future.
Overall, if you're looking for a movie to make a declaration of social and economic commentary, The Purge will fall short by giving way to a typical Hollywood action-thriller. If you are looking for thriller entertainment, The Purge is a good movie and a “must see” prior to watching the sequel, The Purge Anarchy, as one of the characters does return.
I would rate this movie a 3 out of 5 stars.
Rated: Rated R for strong, disturbing and bloody violence and some language.
Director: James DeMonaco
Runtime: 85 min
Release Date: 7 June 2013 (USA)
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I rented this movie from Fantastic Videos with my own funds.