Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Purge (2013)

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane

Director: James DeMonaco

Synposis: In the near future, America thrives on the annual purge, a twelve-hour period where emergency services are suspended and all crime is legal. James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) is a developer of security systems made to protect people during the purge. His family lives in a large house in a wealthy neighborhood as a result. As the purge begins, the house is locked down. Prior to this, Zoey (Adelaide Kane), James' daughter, sneaks her boyfriend into the house. Charlie (Max Burkholder), James' son, witnesses a bleeding man running down the street asking for help. Charlie unlocks the security system and lets the man into the house. As the family looks for a solution to handle this situation, Zoey's boyfriend attempts to murder James. The boyfriend is fatally wounded by James, and the stranger runs away to hide in the house. Meanwhile a group of young people participating in the purge come looking for the stranger, and demand that they give him up. The group cuts the power to their home and gives them time to give up the stranger before they enter the house and kill everyone. The family debates back and forth, and eventually the group breaks in and begins to hunt them down. James successfully kills a number of them but is eventually stabbed to death by their leader. Zoey witnesses this and shoots him. Meanwhile, the Sandin's jealous neighbors come in and kill the remainder of the purging group, with the intent to finish the Sandins off themselves. The stranger comes out of nowhere and kills one of the neighbors, while threatening the same on all the others. The neighbors let the Sandins go and they spend the rest of the night sitting at the kitchen table. Mary (Lena Headley), James' wife, decides to spare the neighbors rather than take revenge. One of them tries to take the upper hand and steal Mary's gun. Mary deflects the attack and smashes her face into the table. The alarms begin to sound that the purge is over, and the neighbors leave. The film ends as television reviews describe this year's purge as the most successful, and announcing the date of the next purge.

Reviewer's Rating: 3.5/5 Reels


The concept of this film is brilliant. Everyone can relate because we have all imagined what life would be like without negative consequences. It says much about our human condition, in that we are much less forgiving in our deepest thoughts than we seem to be on the surface. It also shows that as a culture we are on a depraved social decline. This film serves as a natural extrapolation if we continue on the trends of self-indulgence we currently have.

The cast does a great job bringing the characters to life and creating a family tailored for the purge. Max Burkholder displays the depth of a child's compassion with his character's helpful attitude towards the stranger. He is the voice of innocence in this film and conveys this very well. Lena Headley Is able to quickly display sorrow without totally shutting down. Mary is capable of working through her emotions while still outwardly displaying them. Ethan Hawke gives James a strong leadership role that brings the family together to stay alive. He causes James to be a character of action who can and will do what is necessary to protect the oppressed even when it means killing another human. When his character is murdered, his absence is felt heavily for the rest of the film.

James DeMonaco could have easily created a film with greater suspense. The attackers were not as intimidating as they could have been, and the dark scenes in the house did not surprise nearly as much. Almost all the attackers were only citizens, with the exception of the stranger, who was a veteran. It would seem that these average citizens would be much more brutal after surviving the previous purges. There is also little to no activity seen outside. It would have been interesting to say the least to see what the purge would look like in a crowded city. Even in suburbs, the purge was relatively quiet, despite all of the footage displayed in the film of past purges. As a horror/thriller, this film does not hold up to other titles of the same genre this year, such as The Conjuring or Insidious: Chapter Two.

By Logan Collier

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