The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

The Purge | Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Edwin Hodge, Rhys Wakefield | Review

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1sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is STINKER Judy Thorburn


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1lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is STINKER

The Purge

As the supposed solution for a country wracked by violence, overcrowded prisons and unemployment, the U.S. government in the not too distant future of 2022, has sanctioned a 12 hour period annually when it is legal for anyone to release their hostility, anger, jealously, resentment or whatever pent up aggression by going out and committing a crime of choice including murder without any fear of punishment.  It is a time set aside when no police, medical or emergency help will be available.

That's the premise of The Purge. Although fictional, I find writer-director James DeMonaco's(writer of Assault on Precinct 13 and The Negotiator), story despicable and sickening to say the least. Moreover, we are in a very sad state of affairs to even think that any country, especially the U.S. would ever permit and encourage this type of immoral, reprehensible behavior for 12 hours, let alone a minute.

The story focuses on the Sandin family led by James,(Ethan Hawke), a highly successful salesman, who has become wealthy selling his company's line of expensive security systems to those who can afford it, including his neighbors.  James lives in a mansion in an upscale gated community with his wife Mary (Lena Headley), teenage daughter Zooey (Adelaide Kane) and her younger brother Charlie (Max Burkholder) and feels confident that he and his family will be protected and safe during Purge night, thanks to his state of the art security system.

What he believes is impenetrable is soon put to the test, as well as his desire to not partake in the new American way of once a year cleansing the “impurities” out of the system.  The date is March 22.  Purge time goes into effect from 7 p.m to 7 a.m and the Sandins have triggered the lockdown and barricaded themselves in their fortress, until the 12 hours are up.

Things go awry after Charlie, by way of surveillance cameras, views a homeless Black man on the street (Edwin Hodge) crying out, begging for help while being pursued by unseen attackers.  Feeling sympathy, Charlie takes it upon himself to disable the security system, thus allowing the victimized man to come in, which in turn unleashes the beginning of a nightmare scenario for the Sandin family.

That takes the form of a group of people wearing masks with creepy smiles and their even scarier looking white preppy leader (a truly menacing Rhys Wakefield) who show up at the front door. Wielding machetes, hatchets and other weapons, they threaten to invade the home and kill everyone inside if their frightened prey is not released to them. “If not he, it will be thee”, the psycho leader warns.

What ensues is basically yet another spin on those violent, home invasion movies such as Straw Dogs, and The Panic Room in which good, law abiding people are forced to employ all means to fight off evil, harmful intruders.

No need to go into the details. Suffice to say, with lights turned off, a brutal battle takes place in the dark featuring an onslaught of over the top violence, bloodshed and mayhem leading to a twist at the end that I saw coming, but for many, might come as a surprise.

As a social commentary about racism, class envy, rich versus the poor, the haves taking out their hostility on the have nots, the underlying messages don't carry much weight as they are lost in the gratuitous violence.

Based on the alarming reactions of the audience who screamed “kill him” during the preview screening I attended, movies such as this have the opposite effect of inciting acts of violence.

It is also just plain stupid to accept the idea that the annual purge acts as a way of keeping crime down.  Of course, there would be repercussions for a dastardly crime, with or without the law interfering.  What about the family or friends of the people that are victimized?  All they would have to do to get even and seek revenge is wait till the next year which essentially creates a never ending cycle of unpunishable crimes.

With virtually no redeeming value whatsoever, The Purge is one of those movies that should be purged from theaters. And yes, for goodness sake, I am relieved to get that out of my system.

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