Dave’s 2-Word Review:
Political “what if” movies can often be seen as satirical films as well, and for good reason. A satire is just another way to look at an important topic with a different approach on how to deal with it, and those are usually done in some kind of comedy. They don’t have to be dealt with through the use of humor, though. The Purge can be seen as a political “what if” film, a satire, or just a futuristic film if those other two are too complicated to think about while watching the film. Anyone who hadn’t yet seen the movie yet would tell you that the concept alone is interesting, and it most definitely is. However, the better the concept, the harder it is to do it perfectly.
Ethan Hawke plays James Sandin, a security salesman in this thought-provoking thriller. In the year 2022, the U.S. Government has enforced an “Annual Purge” that legalizes all crime, including murder for a single 12-hour session. The purpose of the purge is to, in essence, purge the natural hatred out of everyone’s hearts so the crime rate in the country is near nonexistent for the rest of the year. His house is one of the many homes that are secured by a metallic cage that traps them inside and those with evil in their hearts outside. When his son, Charlie (Max Burholder) lets a defenseless homeless man take cover in their home, all Hell breaks loose. Blood-thirsty criminals show up at their front door with masks, demanding they hand over the homeless man so they can purge as they are entitled. The Sandin family must fight between legality and morality to decide what to do next.
The whole idea of legalizing all crime for 12 hours is actually really thought-provoking. What if? What if we let people do whatever they wanted for 12 hours? Would we have a lower, possibly near nonexistent crime rate? My guess is no, because most of our murders are actually manslaughter, be it voluntary or involuntary…in other words, heat of the moment. For this film, they could have done anything, and I mean anything. There was a lot of ground to cover. Murder, yes, but what about other things like rape, or what’s actually considered worse than murder – treason? Is it legal to be a terrorist? Basically, this film was really Hollywoodized when the kid let the homeless man in, because to everyone in this film, “the purge” meant murder. I think the film could have been more successful if more crime was included. If more was included, I think we would be more susceptible to feel physically ill at the simple idea of what our country is capable of.
You may have other problems with the believability in this film as well. Apparently everyone that participates in the purge is a psychopath with crazy eyes. That’s hard to believe, there needed to be something else – people with faces that looked almost…sad to feel as if they had to pull the trigger. Nope, you were either so happy the purge existed, or hated it, there was no happy medium. In that respect, the news even was in the same mood, “Happy Purge Day” they would say, instead of something more believable, like “It’s a terrible thing that we have to do this, but it works.”
Next, the movie will be trying to have you believe that a majority of the murders out there are targeted at people who shouldn’t belong in society, like homeless people, or other people that don’t pay their taxes. Really? You are going to risk your life out on the streets in order to kill someone who skipped out on their taxes? Not at all, murder is almost always an act of passion and towards somebody the killer actually knows. A lot of this movie didn’t make any sense, because it was trying to send a specific political message. I’m sorry but the execution of this amazing idea wasn’t really done perfectly.
I did, however, love the movie. Yeah, they got a lot wrong, but right now…I just don’t care. I was having a blast, it was tense, it was still thought-provoking as a “what if” political movie. It could have been much better, or much more realistic, but it’s not as if I wanted to stop the movie immediately because I was so angry, not at all. I had a blast, I think you will as well. So check it out!
The Purge came to theaters on Jun. 7!