Purge HEader

Cinema Sit-Down: The Purge

The Purge

Theme and situation

If on one night every year, you could commit any crime without facing consequences, what would you do?  In The Purge, a speculative thriller that follows one family over the course of a single night, four people will be tested to see how far they will go to protect themselves when the vicious outside world breaks into their home.

In an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity—including murder—becomes legal.  The police can’t be called.  Hospitals suspend help.  It’s one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment.  On this night plagued by violence and an epidemic of crime, one family wrestles with the decision of who they will become when a stranger comes knocking.

When an intruder breaks into James Sandin’s (Ethan Hawke) gated community during the yearly lockdown, he begins a sequence of events that threatens to tear a family apart.  Now, it is up to James, his wife, Mary (Lena Headey), and their kids to make it through the night without turning into the monsters from whom they hide.

Directed by James DeMonaco (writer of Assault on Precinct 13 and The Negotiator), The Purge is produced by Jason Blum of Blumhouse (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister), Platinum Dunes’ partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form (The Amityville Horror, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), as well as Sébastien Kurt Lemercier (Assault on Precinct 13).

Domestic Total as of Jun. 23, 2013: $59,604,075

Distributor: Universal

Release Date: June 7, 2013

Genre: Thriller

Runtime: 1 hrs. 25 min.

MPAA Rating: R

Production Budget: $3 millionPurge Cast

Ethan Hawke     …         James Sandin
Lena Headey
     …         Mary Sandin
Max Burkholder     …     Charlie Sandin
Adelaide Kane   …         Zoey Sandin
Edwin Hodge     …         Target / Hostage
Rhys Wakefield     …     Polite Stranger
Tony Oller          …         Henry

Arija Bareikis –       …        Mrs. Grace Ferrin

James DeMonaco

My Thoughts on it
First impression (First 14 minutes)
Despite what I’ve heard about it, The Purge was interesting for many reasons as certain aspects of the overall theme and premise were effective in engaging the viewer directly; such as the allowing of specific viewers with children or homes to identify with the protective instinct.  Likewise it also presented the audience with extreme case scenarios and  predicaments of questionable morality based on pure motivation, to protect.   Ethan Hawk as James Sandin and Lena Heady seem to have this awkwardly well off lifestyle while maintaining a semi-typical family structure.  But this in itself bothers me because if everyone in the country knows that once a year anything goes, think of the grander sociological implications of this.  If this has been a nationally observed and sanctioned day for many years, then that would mean people spend 364 days of the year thinking about who they are going to kill for Purge; the country would be a much different place, much darker much more depressing.  Employees would be killing bosses, economy would be rocked as major CEOs of company change every year, this society would have to rebuild re-staff the police force every year.  Instead it is presented to us, as if society functions normally all year long, the only catch is, citizens have become reprogrammed to constantly live on guard.  Threats would be taken very seriously thereby creating this air of faux congeniality, 364 days a year.
Purge ender
Everyone is fake, there are no “friends” in this place because it’s been this way for so many years and it’s so well accepted by now that it’s impossible to predict who will suddenly up, and feel the need to purge… on you.  So being so obviously well-off, the way the Sandins were, is just voluntarily painting a target on your forehead.   Unfortunately I was upset when I was able to predict the movie step by step because it was obvious who was going be the final antagonists early.  As interested as I was to entertain the premise, it didn’t seem that well thought out.

So now the setting, while interesting, evokes a string of questions.  I’m calculated like that, I need to understand the details before I can willingly allow suspension of disbelief.   If I cannot immerse myself into the story, then I’m lost and not interested; I couldn’t enjoy the plot because I was too busy having “WTF!? Moments” while watching this uncomfortable sequence of events.

But I kept watching

Early on into it, the story became transparent and predictable.  Within the first 15 minutes I saw the end coming.  So many things were presented so methodically and neatly presented like stockings over the fireplace on christmas, that it was simple to predict what and/or who would play a major and pivotal role in the movie later.  Purge centerAll of the guess work and surprise was taken from me as a viewer.  And I felt immediate disappointment and lack of interest in watching any further when there is nothing for my brain to do.  I hate saying negative things about anything and I didn’t want to jump on the critics bandwagon so I gave myself a night to think about it,  I first realized that the two kids hated their family more than the Purgers did.  Those kids were the source of the worst occurrences and poor decisions made in this movie.  Daughter Zoey’s relationship and misguided loyalty caused her father to get shot, and the son Charlie letting the Target into the house got his father killed.  The movie kept clumsily running in to itself and made it hard for me to become immersed into the story, because of asininity happening on screen right before my eyes.

Wait… more questions… :

  • The commencement announcement on the emergency broadcast was senseless:

a)      Weapons of Class 4 or lower have been authorized for use during the Purge.

b)      Government officials of ranking 10 have been granted immunity from the Purge and shall not be harmed.

c)       Commencing at the siren, any and all crime, including murder, will be legal for 12 continuous hours

d)      Police, fire and emergency medical services will be unavailable until tomorrow morning at 7am, when the Purge concludes.

  • I’m assuming “ranking of 10” is someone like the president, so are regular soldiers allowed to Purge as well?
  • What if I have a class 5 weapon?  If all police and military are not available for 12 hours…who’s around to stop, catch, or arrest me?
  • Why was that Siren so damn spooky and unsettling?
  • Why didn’t the family stick together? Daughter was running through the house chasing …I still have figured out what …  like she was on a bad PCP trip.
  • What if I commit a crime 20 minutes before the start of purge?  When the police come do they just disappear into cold mist when the siren starts?
  • And so many more…

The verdict

The concept has so much potential, I just think it wasn’t fully fleshed out.  It’s a great rental but I can’t see it as being something I’d watch twice.

References Via:

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