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Star – Ethan Hawke
Genre – Sci-Fi/Horror
Run Time – 85 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 1 Wins & 8 Nominations
Amazon – £4.80 DVD £6.79 Blue Ray
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I think it’s fair to say the idea of a 12 hour purge where the good citizens of Great Britain could legally take out the bad people of Great Britain, by whatever means and weapons, would probably prove very popular, the central premise of the American film The Purge. In fact the gun crazy Americans are pretty much doing that anyway, some 123,327 gun deaths since 911 in America, no doubt the inspiration for this movie. As hard as Obama has tried to ban firearms this absurd right wing attitude persists in America that if they lose their guns then they somehow lose their liberty and so concede power to the federal government. For me their paranoia is really about the color of the President and the fear people like him are going to come and get them and their belongings. The reality is most of those guns are used by black and Latino people on black and black and Latino people in the ghettos and the only time they are not is when white farmers blow their own brains out.
Ethan Hawke as James Sandin
Lena Headey as Mary Sandin
Adelaide Kane as Zoey Sandin
Max Burkholder as Charlie Sandin
Edwin Hodge as (Dwayne) The Stranger
Tony Oller as Henry
Arija Bareikis as Grace Ferrin
Dana Bunch as Mr. Ferrin
Chris Mulkey as Mr. Halverson
Tisha French as Mrs. Halverson
Rhys Wakefield as Polite Leader-1
Tom Yi as Mr. Cali
In the year of 2010s, "The New Founding Fathers of America", established a new anarchist, totalitarian government, following economic collapse. Using the 28th amendment of the U.S Constitution the government has established one night a year that’s called "the Purge", which occurs on the spring equinox of March 21 to 22, in which all crime is legal, and all emergency services remain in barracks over a 12 hour nighttime period, from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next day. The only rules are that no government officials with authorization levels of 10 and higher are to be disturbed or attacked, and all weapons above Class 4 (explosive devices such as grenades, rocket launchers, bazookas, etc.) are forbidden. The purge results in crime and unemployment rates plummeting to 1% and a strong economy. Although pitched as an act of catharsis for the U.S. populace, in reality, it is used as population control, as the workless, poor slum dwellers are usually the main targets.
So, as the sirens go for the year of the 2022 ‘purge’ the wealthy Los Angeles citizens deploy their expensive shutters and security locks and bunker down for the night with guns at the ready. Anyone who can’t afford protection are the most likely to be purged, especially on racial grounds.
The affluent Sandin family of dad James (Ethan Hawke), wife Mary (Lena Headey), 16-year-old Zoey (Adelaide Kane) and little Charlie (Max Burkholder) have mixed views on ‘The Purge’. James and his wife agree with it in principal and good for America but don’t go out purging. Charlie is the conscious of the family and doesn’t understand why the killing should happen. Zoey likes cute boys and her mobile phone.
As the nights deadly black claw stretches its cloak of death over America the body count rises across the 50 states as national TV goes Purge crazy. James monitors the streets outside with his security cameras and sensors to protect his family. Dad has made his healthy living by running a company that sells security equipment for the annual Purge. No wonder he backs it. But this will be no normal Purge for the family as little Charlie spots a black ‘down and out’ guy (Edwin Hodge), Dwayne, on the CCTV being chased by a mob and lets him into the house, much to his father’s alarm. But he is not the main threat in the house right now as Zoey’s boyfriend (Tony Oller) has snuck in just before the shutters went down and feels like killing her dad, ending only one way.
Outside a mob of young educated people straight out of Clockwork Orange casting have gathered and demanding the black guy so they can kill him. No harm will come to the Sandin family if they hand him over for his certain death. It seems an easy choice. But James also has an attack of conscious and questions himself, deciding to make a stand on The Purge of 2022, his wife right behind him and not letting the guy go. That means the gang leader (Rhys Wakefield0 is coming in so time to lock n load.
This is one of those films most people watch for the violence alone, aimed at a younger crowd, however it’s rated or promoted. It sounds like their computer games and so I’ll have some of that mate. For just $3 million dollars it did $64million back from those delinquents and so great business. They did the sequel for just $9 million bucks last year and that did a mind boggling $111 million. Maybe we should purge cinema chief execs?
The biggest surprise here is 4 time Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke, a really nervy but interesting actor who does crisis of confidence roles well. But he also picks some stinkers and that has held back his career. Leo Di Caprio, a far lesser talent, also has four Oscar nominations but look at his stratospheric career. There is something about these Texan actors that disconnects them from the mainstream career path, Mathew McConaughey another one who doesn’t really care what the script does as long as it pays. Hawkes filmography is mixed.
The film starts off well with adequate tension and disquieting transformation from normal everyday L.A work and play routine to this foreboding night to come. But once the shutters come down the action remains in and around the Sandin residence, presumably to save money, and that’s were the film remains and so stagnates. I was expecting a much more ambitious film full of ideas, locations and snappy writing the way Zombieland worked so well. Instead we got this rather claustrophobic misfire that turned a great chance to make some strong political points about modern day America into a straightforward ‘he is behind you’ slash and dash horror.
It’s violent but not sadistic and does make some political points and has a decent twist. The race card played early suggests the film to come and the over-the-top mob outside and the premise set in contemporary America (saving money again) distracts from the idea. It looks like 2015 because it is 2015. The anarchist, totalitarian government run America would not look like this. But it not as dull or bad as the critics say and the script executed the best way it could be. It just lacked scope and ambition and a wasted opportunity. I’m sure the writer panned it to be something else on screen but that would have targeted a different, smarter and smaller demographic and so less takings for the multiplexes. If you want to see the film this should have been then watch the original Funny Games from Denmark, a superb film on social class, violence and middle-class conditioning.
Imdb.com – 5.6/10.0 (124,526votes)
Rottentomatos.com –38% critic’s approval
Metacriitc.com – 41% critic’s approval
Leonard Maltin Film Book 2015 – 3/4
Cinema Crazed –‘One gigantic missed opportunity’.
The Mail –‘ Half social allegory, half home-invasion thriller, The Purge attempts to use thriller formula to make an intelligent point—but ultimately only ends up sinking in numbing violence and tired cliches’,
Efilmcritic.com – ‘There might be true satire here, but it would take a far less bored reviewer than me to pick away at the flab surrounding’ the satire.
Cinemaphile –‘An effective balance of mood and style, not overburdened by grotesque displays of violence but suggestive enough to create a space of believable bleakness that warrants our continued interest until the very last frame’.
Reel Reviews...’a rather ludicrous premise that's employed to persistently underwhelming effect by writer/director James DeMonaco...’
The Verge –‘ It starts off strong but is ultimately neither scary nor smart enough to kick off the kind of thought-provoking conversations it so clearly wants to be part of’’.
The NY Times-‘You won't believe that any part of it is even remotely plausible, but you'll go along with it enough to get a few thrills’.
I watched this film for a second time last night and still love it.
It is a good plot which makes you question whether purging really would work...well me anyway, not that I would purge.
It's nice to see Ethan Hawke in a good lead role, he is a strong character in the part and plays it well, the rest of the cast are great too.
This movie really puts you on edge and a little fear into you about being safe at home.
Great story with a good ending that is definitely worth a watch.
I have very mixed opinions about The Purge, some great points but some not so good, here is my review, without giving too much away for those of you who have not seen the film yet!
The Purge was released in may of 2013. It was both written and directed by James DeMonaco. It has a running time of approximately 85 minutes and has some brilliant actors in the movie too, who i thoguht all played their parts perfectly. The actors include Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder.
The movie is about a wealthy family who end up becoming hostage to a group of young killers, because they are harboring a man they want to kill. Max, the families son, hears the stranger screaming for help outside the door, and opens the families security system which they have in place to protect them from the annual Purge, where all crime has been legalized for twelve hours. Max lets the man into the home to protect him from getting killed, but this has terrible consequences, when the group of killers come knocking at the door asking for the man.
At first, James, the farther of the family, wants to send him back outside so the group can kill him, therefore protecting his family, but his wife Mary does not want him to do it. The family decide to keep the man in the home, denying the group who have been asking about the stranger from killing him. The group tear down the home's defenses and come inside the house to kill them all including the man that they were looking for. I do not want to say much more about what happens, simply for those who have not seen it as it will ruin the ending of the movie for you.
The film has some great ideas, the idea of an annual Purge to release your anger instead of committing crime all the time is excellent, but i think it could have been done so much better. Having a family being taken hostage was not what i was expecting from such a great film idea to be honest, and was rather disappointing. I think the film is thrilling and makes it exciting to watch at some parts, but could do with more action really, for example, you only really get to see small clips of the devastation that is happening around the country while the Purge is happening, which kind of ruined the idea of it all. The story line is not at all what it could have been, I believe if they had shown the film from a poor families perspective, who could not afford a security system to protect their home would have been much better. They could have shown the struggle just to survive the night, which would have been much more scary than showing a wealthy family with lots of defenses and guns.
This is an idea that could be built on I think, and i believe there will be many more Purge movies to come in the future. There is also a new film out called The Purge, Anarchy, but i am yet to see that one. It is worth the watch, because the idea of the film is so good, and i can only hope that the next movie is going to have a better story line to it!
My sister told me to watch this film that she had brought because we're both horror film fanatics. We both love being scared out of our skins but I was not expecting this. It's not exactly scary but when you think about what if it came really it sends chills down your spine. So the concept is that anything illegal becomes legal for 12 hours on this one day out of the year. Everyone's preparing for it. When it happens you feel physically sick by the way people are acting. It's like all human decency and love has been kicked out of the window and it's everyone vs everyone else. It's savage. I didn't think the film was scary because for me it didn't have any aspects that could scare except if it became real. This would be my worst nightmare come true if it happened. I wouldn't be taking part in it to say the least, but I wonder what everyone else would do? Purge or not?
I brought this from a well known retailer. I'm going to provide you with a spoiler free review and my thoughts on the story and acting within the movie.
2013 Horror, Sci-fi
-- Synopsis (spoiler free) --
The Purge is a movie about a utopian ideology where petty crime, unemployment and murder are at an all time low. This is due to something called "The Purge". The annual purge means all crime, (including murder) is legal for one day of the year. All police and hospitals are suspended for 12 hours a night.
The general story follows one family a day before the Purge is about to begin. The husband is a owner of a high security system company which specialise in protecting peoples homes on the night of The Purge.
We find out how the family reacts when a stranger comes knocking asking for help, only to be targeted by a group that threaten them with a life threatening decision.
With emotions running high, James (Ethan Hawke) has to decide what the right thing to do is.
-- What I thought about the film --
I thought the film itself was original and something different from the super hero or remake films which seem to be all over the screens lately. But it was let down by some very poor acting. Certain scenes in the movie are so unrealistic and plain dumb, you can't help but laugh.
For example, why would you install and activate a high security system only to let a random stranger in your home you've never have met in your life?
The son and daughter's characters in the movie are unemotional throughout.
I was very looking forward to watching this after seeing the trailer. But it's as if the director came up with a fantastic story, only it to be rushed with awful screenplay.
Overall if I had to describe this movie in three words. It would be, shoddy, boring and predictable.
I remember seeing the advertising for this flick when it came out and there was a fair bit of chatter about it being one to watch if you're a fan of horror. I didn't, however, have my hopes too high for this so waited for renting the DVD rather than paying for the cinema, and having watched it would say it was rather overrated. Not really giving anything new to the genre aside from the concept of a 'purge' killing spree, this film seemed predictable and lacklustre in parts. It was easy enough to watch, but I can't say I felt the fear the advertisers promised.
The Purge was released this year (2013) and falls within the horror thriller genre. On the DVD cover sleeve is the tagline 'One night a year all crime is legal', and underneath, 'survive the night'. This hopes to build some tension and interest, as does the part towards the bottom that informs us that the flick is from the 'producer of Insidious and Sinister'. The latter didn't interest me at all; I thought both of those films were pretty rubbish.
The basic premise is that in a near-future America, the Government decides on a new initiative to tackle crime. They sanction a 12 hour period, once a year only, between 7pm and 7am; during this time, all criminal activity is legal and will go unpunished. Even the emergency services will not be contactable. You literally could do anything, including brutally murder a stranger, your boss or your neighbour, and it would be without legal consequence. According to what we hear at the very start of the film, this initiative has vastly reduced rates of crime and violence, so it seems to work. The idea is that by allowing one night of monstrous acts, the people of America can 'purge' themselves of the evil intents and violence and anger that they hold inside, giving them a release that is more contained over the one day rather than spread out willy-nilly over the year. An interesting idea, perhaps, but not one that holds up to great scrutiny when you look at the psychology behind it. It assumes that people are killers, that this one night rids people of their conscience... I won't go in to it, but you do have to suspend your critical brain a bit in order to buy in to the premise.
We're introduced to the Sandin household, the rather rich family in nice community where everything seems wonderful. James is the breadwinner and is literally getting rich quick from The Purge by creating and selling security systems for the night to his neighbours and other communities, making a tidy sum to add to the already nice big house the own. His wife, Mary, doesn't seem particularly warm, however, and nor does she seem all that communal with her neighbours. The daughter, Zoey, is more interested in sneaking around with her boyfriend whilst the son, Charlie, seems a tad weird, having already created his own creepy babydoll-headed robot spying machine, obviously taking after his father's ingenuity.
On the night of the Purge, the household goes in to lockdown; no one in, no one out. The security system kicks in, the government alarm sounds in every neighbourhood, and the Sandin's prepare to wait out the night. However, they may be locking up without checking that no one that shouldn't be there isn't already inside, and nor can they prevent a certain son from letting someone in. In fact, they can't do much about the harassment they will face that night. Determined not to partake in the Purge, it looks like they have no choice but to defend or fight. The question is, can they all outrun the 12 hours and stay alive?
So yes, aside from the very notion of a 12 hour 'Purge' period, the film doesn't add much to the horror thriller genre. It plays on our fear of the unknown, of strangers, of the sanctuary of the home being invaded and us feeling powerless. I wasn't overly keen on the ending because although the storyline gave a twist or two, they were 'shocks' I had already anticipated as possibilities early on in the film. The ending seemed to lack believability and also left me feeling a bit disappointing, wondering if that was it like a lacklustre sparkler going out in your hand after fizzling away for a few seconds.
The cast featured 2 familiar faces and big names in particular, who gave the film some credibility. They included Ethan Hawke (James Sandin), Lena Headey (from Game Of Thrones, playing Mary Sandin), Adelaide Kane (Zoey Sandin), Max Burkholder (Charlie Sandin) and Rhys Wakefield (the intruder) amongst others. Hawke was upstanding and believable as expected, and Headey added a bit of intrigue throughout as I warmed to her (I wasn't so keen on her in the role at first as she didn't seem to fit), and the children were so-so. Again, acting and role fits seemed to improve a little as the action increased and characters started becoming more active. I enjoyed Wakefield as one of the 'polite' intruders coming in to their home to terrorise them; he was supposed to be ridiculously proper and irritatingly smug and confident, and he did it well. A little obvious a role to have, I suppose, and it reminded me of a character in another film, but I enjoyed the character anyway. Aside from that, acting was really quite average. However, as the main characters improved towards the end, the newer characters that took up positions towards the end didn't seem to fit at all, bringing poor acting and lacking in believability that I thought brought the film down a few more notches.
Whilst The Purge had a reasonably good quality feel to it, I'd say that was predominantly thanks to Hawke heading up the cast. Otherwise, it felt like a run of the mill horror to be honest, with some degree of tension and atmosphere that was unfortunately damaged by the end through predictability and poor characters/acting.
I hadn't expected much from this so my hopes weren't too high from the get-go. It was easy enough to watch on a boring, dark night to snuggle up with, but it didn't provide any scares and left me feeling a bit disappointing and wanting more.
DVD released Oct 2013, running time 85 minutes, rated Certificate 15.
Selling for £10 (Amazon)
I wanted to see this film when it came out at the cinema earlier this year but I missed it. So I watched it on iTunes at the weekend instead.
It cost me £4.49 to rent it and I think it'll be on my laptop for 30 days in which case I will definitely be watching it again.
The film stars Ethan Hawke as the father of the family but it does not have anyone else in it that I recognised which I like.
The story is set slightly in the future in America at a point where the prisons are overcrowded and so the government has brought in an annual "Purge". One 12 hour period a year when all crime is legal. Including murder. The idea is that people can go out on a rampage during this allotted period each year to get their crime streak out of their systems and then they will be good for the rest of the year.
So the options for people living through a purge is to either lock yourself in your house and try to stay safe until it is over, or grab yourself some weapons and go out and go crazy.
This story shows a regular family, James, Mary, Zoey (16 ish) and Charlie(?) (10 ish) who decide to lock themselves in their "up to the eyeballs in the latest security" house and stay safe. The father of the household has made his fortune by selling top notch security systems to the neighbours and as a result, their house is the best of the best. You do get a sense early on in the film that the family is the cause of some of the neighbours' envy because of this.
The "let's stay in and stay safe" plan would be a nice enough plan if it wasn't for those pesky kids. The girl's boyfriend ends up sneaking in before lock down and the young lad takes pity on a complete stranger and lets him in. Unfortunately what he doesn't realise (not sure if it would make a difference) is that the stranger is being pursued by a gang of youths who have selected him to kill during the purge.
When the gang realise that Stranger is in My Security System's house they give the family 2 options - give him back to us so we can kill him as we had intended or protect him and we will come in and take him and kill you lot too.
What follows is a bit of a cat and mouse chase where some are hiding from Stranger, some are looking for Stranger and Stranger is trying to hide from all.
The family is torn between what to do with the heads of the family originally wanting to give him up to the gang to keep their own family safe and the youngsters being absolutely appalled by their parents' plan.
I can't really go any further with the story without giving stuff away so I won't.
I really enjoyed the film. It was a thriller that had me on the edge of the seat a few times. There were so many points when I found myself wondering "what would I do" during the film.
There were some awful scenes that absolutely tore at your conscience and a number of very good twists and turns.
A lot of the film was very tense with people stalking about carrying knives and guns.
The gang of youths wore awful fake smile masks which was a fantastic touch. The smiling masks really gave a sense of horror to what was actually happening on screen and I even ended up having nightmares that night about this film!
The story was created very well as despite the ridiculous concept you do immediately accept that ok this is what just happens....! It was interesting seeing how different people prepared for the annual event and you did end up thinking about what you would do.
The film kept me engaged throughout. I often get distracted during films and end up doing something while I watch - surf the internet, paint my nails etc, but this I just sat and watched from start to finish. Can't remember the last time I did that with a film!
Crime is raging throughout USA and the jails are overpopulated. The government has allowed regular 12-hour period (once a year) when all criminal activities are allowed, including murders...
At that period police and hospitals are unavailable. On a night like that a stranger comes to the house of Sandin family. Of course it's an evil stranger looking for blood. It's up to James, his wife Mary and their kids , if they will survive that night.
This is a really powerful movie. Socially-engaging, this movie reminds us of "Clockwork Orange" or even Peckinpah's "Straw Dogs". When we talk about iconography this movie is close to Carpenter's "Attack on Precinct 13" and a little bit similar to Stone's "Natural Born Killers".
I didn't expect much from this movie because recently Hollywood is delivering a lot of pointless movies, but this movie really grow on me. "The Purge" reminds us of those times when a lot of time was spent on the story and less on the effects, although visual effects are also great.
I bet there will be very few people that will watch this movie and be disappointed a the end. Intelligent screenplay, good performance and the right amount of Orwell-Assange-CIA charm to cause unusual sensation in your stomach. After watching this movie I asked myself - What the hell did we do with our civilization and where are we going?
I purchased this DVD from Morrisons supermarket to watch on Halloween (last night) I bought it for £9.99 which is good considering it was only released this year.
The purge is 2013 thriller written and directed by James DeMonaco and stars Ethan Hawke (James Sandin) and Leana Headey (Mary Sandin). The film is set in America 2022 where after a crime fueled period they have decided to hold an annual 'Purge' Event. When the Purge occurs all crime including murder is permitted for a 12 hour period, during this time all emergency services will be inaccessible. This has reduced the annual crime rate to 1%
We follow the Sandin Family who are planning a quiet purge night. James Sandin (Father) has made it big selling security systems in the local community due to this purge event and has is own 'state of the art' system in place at home. When they begin the 'lock-down' process of securing their property they are unaware that the night will be anything but 'quiet'. There are lots of twists and turns and I don't want to give to much away as that would kill the suspense should you choose to watch the movie. However the main story of the movie surrounds when the Sandin son sees a homeless man running around their neighboorhood screaming for help as he is being pursued by a group looking to 'purge' with him as their target. The young boy feels guility and wants to help so lifts the security system to let the man in. When the man enters the Sandin home the mother and father quickly put the house on 'lock-down' again but can they trust this stranger in their home? and what about the group looking for this man? Will they find out where he is?
In my opinion it did hold my suspense and I liked the idea of the plot as i felt it was something a 'bit different' to the usual suspense thrillers/horrors I have watched. I would certainly not enjoy it as much the 2nd time around as I know what is going to happen now, but generally thats the case with all these kinds of movies.
I would say its worth a watch but maybe once and then thats all, it raises a few interesting questions though and I enjoyed watching this movie
I noticed a trailer for this film online and instantly thought the plot sounded interesting. I was a little apprehensive as it looked a little like a horror, and I hate anything gory. This film is more of a thriller which made it much more enjoyable to watch from my point of view. There are a few moments when you feel as though it is heading towards a horror, but it quickly diverts your attention away again with a little bit of action.
We are shown America in 2022, unemployment is at one percent and crime is at an all time low. The economy is thriving and the country seems to be running perfectly. All these results are prided on the results of one simple change. One night a year, for 12 hours only, ALL crime is legal. The idea is that as humans we are natural hunters, so by allowing everyone to murder, steal and generally do what they want for one night without any consequences, for the rest of the year we will behave and get on without any trouble. We follow James Sandin, an upper class sales man, whose family normally remain safe behind a flashy security system that he sells. This year things take a turn for the worst when their son allows a stranger into the home, and they are forced to make decisions on the type of people they want to be.
I thought the plot was very intriguing. It struck me as a film that was going to be thought provoking, with a crazy concept and government conspiracies to really get you thinking. While it starts off very strong I can't help but feel it turns into a typical cliché action movie. It seems to lead away from being interesting and becoming a little typical and easy to predict. It is still watchable, but nowhere near as exciting as it could have been if it had been put together correctly.
The acting was OK, again not anything amazing and it tends to differ at times. At the beginning of the film the acting is all a little boring and the family scenes often come off as a bit cheesy. As you get further into the film it seems to improve, but as the plot twists and turns quickly I'm not sure if I just noticed it less by trying to keep up with the story. None of the actors are overly familiar to me so I have nothing to compare their performances too, but they do well at portraying their characters.
There are two groups that form the main characters of this film. The Saundin family are made up of Dad James (Ethan Hawke), Mum Mary (Lena Headey), Son Charlie (Max Burkholder) and daughter Zoe (Adelaide Kane). When put together the dialog makes the scenes awkward with no connection between characters at all. Individually they are actually really good, but a poor script means when together there is no chemistry. The second group are some hooligans that arrive at the Saundins family's door. There is no character development with this group of people at all, just a series of strange scenes that I found really cringe worthy. We do not learn anything about them, and they just hang around with masks on looking creepy.
Originally I had thought the plot was thought provoking and that it would develop through the film. While there are a number of twists to keep the film interesting, for the most part it comes off as the same as any other action movie. Some of the plot is a little over the top, and at times it is a little too much and I just find it a bit laughable. As none of it seems real in the slightest, I did not find myself really caring about what happened to the characters.
Throughout the film there are references that Purge day is a way of the government wiping out the population that are vulnerable, and rely on the state too much. I did think they were going somewhere with this theme as it gets a couple of mentions through the film, but it just gets lost in the rest of the story. While the film is full of action, I can't help feel if they had concentrated on the original theory a little more, then it would have been more interesting. They seem to have concentrated on fast moving scenes without any real thought for the plot.
What I liked about this film is that it was easy to watch. While it tries to be a little eerie at times there is no gore, or anything that made me feel uncomfortable to watch. It is rated a 15 which I think is about right, there are scenes of violence but they are not overly graphic. I would recommend this film as it is an OK watch. I think I was maybe expecting a little too much from it plot wise, and while it starts of strong it comes to a bit of a typical ending. I would recommend renting as I am not sure it is something you could watch over and over again. Once you know the twists in the plot there is nothing to make you want to watch it again.
Whether what this film suggests is actually feasible or not is an entirely separate matter - would an annual 12-hour period in which all crimes are allowed really help decrease America's crime rate and solve the country's long-standing problem of unemployment? During these hours even the emergency services do not respond, and it turns into a free-for-all "Battle Royale"/"The Hunger Games" in which the population is given the chance to get all violence and hatred out of their system. We are naturally violent primitive creatures, some important looking psychology professor says on a television screen in the background, and insists that this is the key for humanity's survival.
The year is 2022, and "The Purge" has truly turned things around, with the United States becoming a nation reborn thanks to this little cleansing process cooked up by the new Founding Fathers. James (Ethan Hawke) and Mary (Lena Headey) don't take part in this ritual (as is their right), and traditionally hide out in their proudly fortified mansion, choosing not to get involved, but fully supporting the idea of "The Purge". Their children Zoey (Adelaide Kane) and Charlie (Max Burkholder) are a little too young, naïve and idealistic to fully comprehend the need for this yearly event (and to be quite frank, the audience won't be fully sold on this idea either) but it's the world they live in now, and they need to learn to deal with it.
So "The Purge" starts bang on time at 7pm with a loud horn signalling the beginning of all things criminal in which certain low-grade weapons are allowed (knives, guns etc, but arming a nuclear bomb and aiming it at a specific target would probably not be included in that category), and ends at 7am sharp the next day, again with a horn signalling this, giving the public plenty of time to unleash the monsters within. Things seem to be going well for James' family, with the patriarch feeling confident, somewhat arrogantly, that their state-of-the-art brand new security systems will keep out anyone who roams through the streets looking for trouble.
But having dumb, useless children who are ultimately good for nothing is certainly this family's massive downfall. When their youngest Charlie sees a Bloody Stranger (Edwin Hodge - this is his credited character name) crying out for help, the kind-hearted idiot lets the man in. Turns out he's been running away from an insane gang of masked youths who are exercising their Constitutional Right to purge. This gang means business, all of them wielding deadly weapons, dressed to kill, aching for some blood to be spilled. James' family has been thrown into this turmoil, and as these youngsters start a siege and an eventual home invasion, since their defence system really isn't all that great, they are left to fight and fend for themselves; as until 7am, there will be no help coming their way. Adding to this is another troublesome offspring of theirs: the daughter - and her boyfriend who has snuck his way into the house looking for some mischievous action of his own.
Despite the initially intriguing premise of this annual ritual, the film doesn't actually spend too much time on having a closer look at the event itself. As is the case with all standard home invasion movies, the lights go off, there are many sharp corners, the bad guys are coming in from all directions, and the good guys are at a tremendous disadvantage. The build-up isn't so well handled, with very little and largely generic character development for the family dynamic. Headey is much less interesting here without her Queen Regent Cersei Lannister's sharp dialogue or costumes, and Hawke is as smoothly convincing as he always is, although he isn't allowed to give much range to his performance.
However when the blood-thirsty, psychotic gang does break in (led by the unbearably creepy and disturbing Rhys Wakefield - ironically credited here as "Polite Stranger"), it's all tremendously fun. It's intriguing to see what the ordinary citizens are capable of - when the beast is unleashed - to protect their families and this is what the film tries to explore. Hawke is fantastic when he eventually has the chance to bring out the demons, which is really what the film tries to explore - just to what lengths can a family man go to without betraying what he stands for? Both James and Mary are clear in the start that they're not a violent part of "The Purge", and it's interesting to see how dangerously close they get to the line they wish not to cross. It's also a shame that it's only Hawke who gets to have fun attacking the trespassers, as Headey only turns into a helpless, shrieking mess. There is a scene where her show of humanity and compassion balances out Hawke's more aggressive side but this contrast is only barely glossed over and never fully materialises into something the film can have a look at.
And it's this theme the film should have focused on more. But opting out of portraying depth and instead choosing to go down the easy route of simple violence and loud crashes and thuds, what it eventually boils down to is something familiar. It ends on an outrageous and somewhat hysterically bizarre twist, one that further confirms the film has very little character consistency whatsoever. There are so many drastic shifts for the sake of pressing forward with the story in a compact running time that it's difficult to take the final few moments of the film seriously at all. As the film progresses every ounce of conceivable logic is thrown out the window and the plot is wrapped up sooner than expected.
Given the topic, the film does warrant some debate on the matter after the credits stop rolling - the would you, wouldn't you, type situation these normal everyday characters are thrown into may seem black and white, but as the film tries to show in its very own clunky way, it is very easy to be sucked into the animalistic behaviour and those who judge perhaps shouldn't be so quick to do so.
I went to the cinema with my friend last week with the intention of watching After Earth but the queue was so big we missed it and ended up watching The Purge instead. I had seen a trailer for it and thought it looked like an interesting concept but it looked to be bordering on a horror which had put me off a bit as horror films are usually a bit predictable. The film is directed and written by James DeMonaco and was released in UK cinemas on 31 May 2013.
The Film is set in 2022 where USA has been reformed with a new system placed to minimise crime and unemployment rates. The system involves an annual 'Purge' which is a 12 hour time period in which any criminal activity is legal and emergency services are suspended. The idea is that it gives the citizens a release for any anger or negativity and as a result crime throughout the remainder of the year is significantly lower.
Throughout the film we follow the Sandin family which consists of father James (Ethan Hawke), mother Mary (Lena Headey), teenage daughter Zoey (Adelaide Kaye) and 12 year old son Charlie (Max Burkholder). The family are wealthy which is a result of James setting up a business selling home security systems designed to withstand the Purge. Therefore he has made his money from the existence of the Purge.
The family are preparing for a normal safe Purge evening and lock down the house so they are safe. However during the early stages of the Purge Charlie spots a man outside on the CCTV screens who is desperately shouting for help and decides to offer him refuge therefore he deactivates the security system to let him in. However he doesn't realise that the man is being pursued by a group of masked characters brandishing weapons who give the family a choice. Either give up the man they let in who was someone they were going to kill, or suffer the consequences...which is that they would force entry and kill the entire family.
I really liked the concept of the film and found it very intriguing. Yes it does have flaws and I don't personally believe that a Purge would cut crime so much in real life...however it was something different and I liked that. The concept was presented well and made very clear from the beginning so there was no confusion, which I think in this case was a good thing and meant you could understand and enjoy the film.
The plot started well and was interesting and different, however the second half of the film fell into a predictable pattern which I've come to expect from horror films. It ended up relying more on fight scenes and shock factor than actual plot, and at times bordered on a bit obsurd. That's not to say I didn't enjoy watching it, it was entertaining and was one of those jumpy films that has you on the edge of your seat, but there wasn't much more to it than that.
I suppose some of the moral issues presented did give the film a bit more depth. The dilemma the family face of whether to give up the stranger and send him to his death, or risk their own lives was a difficult and interesting one. The film also touches on the fact that the Purge could actually be viewed as the governments way of writing off poorer more vulnerable people and those reliant on the state, therefore saving themselves money. I hoped this sub-concept might develop a bit further than it did.
Although I've been referring to the film as a Horror film, it was actually more of a thriller in the end and I wouldn't put it in the same genre as films like Saw and Hostel. I'm easily scared by horror films yet found this film easy to watch and it wasn't disturbing and didn't feature any gory scenes. Therefore I'd say it was suited to anyone (over 15!).
The acting was fine but nothing to really write home about. I found Lena Headey slightly wooden, however Ethan Hawke gave a natural, easy performance which was better to watch. The 'Purgers' who threaten the family were an odd bunch who mainly wore masks and came across as mentally unstable, therefore it is hard to comment on the acting skill. Rhys Wakefield plays the leader of the Purgers and is the only one to remove his mask, and I thought he was actually quite interesting and managed to create a bizarre character who suited the film well and gave it a more sinister edge.
This film looks interesting and does present a unique concept, but the reality is that it isn't really anything special and it falls into a lot of genre stereotypes. It's worth watching once just for the initial concept but I won't be watching it again.
I had been looking forward to this film as soon as I had seen the trailer, it looked like something very different and a very interesting concept. The day it was released I went to see it. This review is quite late as I have been tied up pretty much 24/7 with college work.
The story for this film can be predictable at times but has some surprise twists and turns, leaves you thinking to yourself you know what will happen and you will be very surprised. Happened to me twice especially to do with who was committing certain acts. Anyway Purge is set around 10 years in the future. America has a problem with violent crime and as a result has introduced Purge day, an annual event where anything goes. It is a day for all Americans to let off steam and let out any frustrations that they have. You can do anything that day, kill anyone you want excluding government officials, as all emergency services are suspended for that night. This is a concept that I think have been given some thought knowing America....
So what does the family we are watching do? They are a relatively wealthy family so they have a home security system that blocks off every window and door with a thick metal wall. All in that suburb are wealthy and just 'lockdown' for the night and watch movies or stay in doing whatever just passing the night blocking out the horrors that are sure to be happening outside. Whilst the others.. maybe the insane go around and satisfy their hunger for murder and carry out killings on whoever they see, some do have specific targets but many seem to just kill homeless people and this is their right to purge the useless from society. They see it as their role on Purge day.
Certain events lead to a Purge group going to the Sandin household, I will not give away anymore spoilers just be sure that you are in for a lot of surprises when you sit down to view this title!
From the trailer The Purge looked like a horror with twists. This is exactly what we got. But I was very surprised at just how creepy the Purge group pursuing the family were portrayed to be, it was a lot more creepy than I anticipated. They all had masks and were giddy and happy, while killing innocents, vey very creepy.
As I said earlier I wouldn't be surprised if a concept similar to this has been discussed in America, obviously it is a very 'out there' idea but I feel that some people would become like that. The way they justify it saying that crime was down to 1% and all that is stupid for a real life scenario as people would not be satisfied with just one day of this unbelievable violence. Something that I liked about the film was because of the timeline they didn't have to have too futuristic tech everything I saw seemed possible even now, they didn't try to hard with the futuristic feel which I liked. I also found that the concept was not done in an unbelievable way which again I found impressive. By the end I really did believe in this storyline and this world.
Something else that impressed me was that they characters were not portrayed the generic way that we see all the time where the 'good guys' always win etc etc. There are a lot of twists involved where sometimes you are even guessing who are the good guys? Are there any? Another note on the characters portrayed was the victim that gets taken in when the little boy in the family opens the door to him as he is crying out for help. He is played by Edwin Hodge and I think he did a fantastic job he did not overplay the role and was very convincing it really tugged on my heartstrings near the end when they catch him. He is an excellent actor that I had not previously seen or heard of now I have I will be looking for titles that include him. The rest of the characters I found slightly generic, I found the mother role didn't really develop past anything we'd seen before until very near the end, the kids where as you expected them to be, again with the father you only really see anything different towards the midpoint in the film.
The Purge is a very hard film to watch if you are the emotional type and tackles some very disturbing issues. It does not hold back on showing the horrors that the Purge day comes coupled with, although it does not overdo it to a saw like interpretation where it is just gore, it does it cleverly and this is why I rate this film so high it makes everything seem just right not holding back not too far. The rating? I think this is right to be a 15 it is a hard 15 though, the violence is so strong, and the clips you see on the CCTV are quite upsetting, the language I didn't really notice and there is no sex just a hint to it at the start and when the boyfriend of the daughter comes back, nothing ends up happening though.
The film's setting does not change it is in the rich suburb that I cannot remember the name of right now and the Sandin family household. The setting maybe is generic but the way it is put across it is far from it. The scenes had quite an emotional impact on me and really the only film that has made me really emotional to date is Boyz in Da Hood (sounds stupid from the title but is an excellent film) One thing that did disappoint me was the soundtrack.. there wasn't much of it if I'm honest, when it was there it was alright nothing special.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this film, there are many 'edge of your seat' moments in this film and some dark humour at times. It had quite the impact on me personally. Moral code did come in, with the way some were taking this Purge event but it did make sense. I would definitely recommend this film if you are watching for a new horror/thriller with a fresh start of sorts.
We don't really go to the cinema as often as we used to. The price has gone up so much it just does not seem worth it. However, one evening after dinner we just decided to be a bit spontaneous and bought tickets to see this film. I vaguely recalled seeing a trailer and being interested, but could not really remember what it was about.
Less than a decade into the future, in response to concerns about violent crime, the US introduces 'Purge Day'. The idea is that on one night each year, crimes all the way up to murder of ordinary people (conveniently not government officials) are not prosecuted, to allow people to get their violent feelings out of their system. In addition, all emergency services become unavailable. Not a good time to become sick then, either. It seems in general that this law has been accepted and maybe even welcomed. In the wealthy suburbs most people have good security anyway, so can simply 'lockdown' for the night and sleep through, whilst others indulge in their anger and cravings for blood.
However, for the Sandin household, things go terribly wrong when James's teenage daughter's boyfriend sneaks into the house to confront him and his son Charlie opens up the house to a desperate outsider being chased down by a gang of killers. When the killers discover where he is seeking refuge, the family are faced with a dilemma: hand over their intended victim, or all become victims themselves.
I was expecting this film to be a gripping horror and from the trailer it looked that way. However, in this respect I was disappointed. There might be something sinister and twisted about the gang of killers pursuing their victim - their masks and playful attitude towards violence, but this had little effect on me when played out. I waited for the moment this would all get a bit scary, but it never came. In fact the creepiest thing was a baby doll robot. The film would have been better advertised honestly as a futuristic thriller. The idea of people turning into remorseless killers in one night would still be very effective without attempting to dress it up as a horror.
That said, I did find the film very interesting and it left me with a lot to think about and talk about with others. A part of me wanted to remark that 'this might happen in America but it would never happen here' because I find it so hard to comprehend that violent behaviour could be something people just need to get out of their system. Really, I think worldwide by now most of us know that the more people indulge in violence the more they want. The very idea that legalising crime for a few hours would fix all our problems is nonsense, and I could not see this ever happening, so frankly it was far-fetched. However, it is also true that there are people that follow this line of thought, so to challenge it is worthwhile to me. I thought this was very cleverly done and the moral dilemmas that come with such a society were fascinating.
Acting and Characters
I think getting a film based in the future right must be tough. At one time imagining how technology and fashion would develop might have been the hardest thing, but I think today the one thing we still struggle with is imagining how people would really behave in a world completely different to ours. I often find it hard to get into a film when I'm just not convinced. To be honest I did sense that phoney family atmosphere to begin with and I was worried that I would find it hard to appreciate this film. However, as the plot developed, albeit with cliche characters, it did seem a bit more natural. The attackers were convincingly menacing and Ethan Hawke played an excellent role as troubled father, although Lena Headey's maternal role was also strong and well developed. Edwin Hodge played the stranger that comes into their home, and very well indeed, but it was unfortunate that his character was so much of a victim for so long that it was almost cringe-worthy.
The film slipped quickly into a gloomy tensity that remained throughout. Mostly set at night, this was to be expected, but even the daylight scenes had an eerie feel to them, which perhaps made the cheesy suburban setting more sinister. The film is not set too far into the future, so I did not expect it to look too alien, and fortunately it was mostly plausible. The soundtrack certainly added to a feeling of unease througout the film, but it did not add as much suspense as I thought it might. As the film built up to its climax, there was a dramatic increase in violence, but with the lack of light and speed of jumping from one scene to the next, it was often hard to tell what was going on. Some of this might have been intended to be left to our imagination, the scariest thing of all, but actually there simply was not enough. Somehow the effects were muffled and whilst I watched with great interest, the actual scenes had little emotional impact on me.
The film deals with a few big issues, and so rightfully is not gentle on revealing the terror brought on by 'Purge Day'. This means that indeed there is a great deal of violence, and there are some pretty horrific weapons on show too. A scene with James's daughter and her boyfriend gets a bit raunchy too, which made me uncomfortable, although again I appreciate the point being made and it does not go too far. Personally I think the rating of 15 is reasonable, because little can really be seen in terms of violence or sex and the language was no worse than in most films of this genre, in fact I hardly noticed.
I did enjoy this film, but not for the reasons I had expected. At times I was almost on the edge of my seat but generally it just did not have that much of an impact on me. Also I found the idea of a Purge too ridiculous and so I think this affected my involvement in the film. That said, it did raise some interesting issues about how an 'ordinary' family might behave in a situation like this, or whether the class divide still exists. I might not have found what was presented realistic, but it was definitely interesting and for this reason it was worth a watch.