Sunday, March 30, 2014

Movie Review: “The Purge”

    I am an ardent fan of the cinematic arts. Although I have certain genre preferences, I don’t let that stifle my curiosity and close myself to different flavors of entertainment. That said...I am a huge fan of science fiction, super hero and action movies! Please visit my other blog The Boxed Office for reviews, exclusively, on these types of movies.

The Cast

   I usually enjoy Ethan Hawke’s performances. I found him to be very believable in “Training Day” and although he didn’t bomb the role in this film, I felt the role itself was written poorly. I really can’t fault the guy for the shoddy writing and acknowledge that he played it well enough for what he had to work with. Now, I could be completely wrong and have missed that the point of it all was for him to play one of the most incompetent people in the history of film, disconnected with his own reality….but I doubt it.

   I can’t say too much differently about Lena Headey’s character. I guess her role was to play the woman dumb enough to marry one of the most incompetent people in the world…and produce some of the dumbest children ever. That said, she convinced me of this fact and played an excellent role if that was the goal. If not, again, I can’t really fault her for the writing of her character and have to assume she did the best she could with the material and annoyance at watching it is actually a good thing.

The Plot: 

   In the near future America has an epiphany and has come to the conclusion that we all need an outlet for all our stress and expression for those dark and recessed feelings we all push away daily, thus…The Purge.
   One a year for twelve hours the law is suspended and you can commit any crime and heinous act you can think of. You are free to kill, rape, maim, steal…whatever you want so that the rest of the year you can be a model citizen. This year The Purge has become very personal for the Sandin family as an act of compassion puts them in the crosshairs of some very dangerous people.

   What happens next is edge-of-your-seat events as the Sandin family must survive the onslaught of purgers bent on satiating their inner darkness.

The Verdict: 

      I have a lot to say about this film, more than usual as there were just so many things wrong with it (or right if we are to believe people have become this stupid in the future). Never mind that the idea of a free night of crime and barbarism will somehow satiate society into a virtual utopia is just ridiculous, but even accepting this as the premise of the film lends one to believe that people living under those conditions will acclimate to them. Joke’s on me.

      Where do I begin? How about the idea that scant minutes before the Purge period begins is when James Sandin (Hawke) decides to activate his home security? Is it me, or with a situation so dangerous would it not make more sense to do that hours before the Purge begins to give yourself ample time to check everything to make sure there are no problems with your security? This surely would have solved the problem of your daughter’s boyfriend trying to kill you after sneaking in the house just before the Purge. 

    Would it also not make sense to activate the system without your children looking on to see the passcode? I thought so even before the dumbest child in films deactivates the system to let a total stranger in the house fearing his circumstances at the hands of purgers. The same child can’t process his situation when purgers finally break in intent on killing him and his family, and he decides flashing a light in the dark is the best way to hide undetected.

      I was stunned at the philosophy of Mary Sandin (Headey) to actively search for the intruders instead of setting up at a defensible position (with your children). Instead she let the children fend for themselves against armed sadistic people trying to kill them. I also couldn’t understand why she would leave he gun behind after dropping it instead of always making sure she was armed to deal with all these crazy people in her home.

   Sigh….I tried, I really tried to like this film, but all the idiocy made it nearly impossible. I just figured a society like this would spawn people smart enough to survive, especially if they are among the privileged. Speaking of privileged, don’t get me started on the deeper undercurrent of this film of the rich preying on the poor and the Purge being used to remove those from society that are less fortunate (like the homeless). If this is where we are headed, it is not in the direction of an advanced and better society.

   Action and suspense was the hook. Stupidity and shoddy writing were the anchor that sunk this film. At times it was not only not my cup of tea (I can’t suspend my intelligence), I almost spit it out…leaving only one and a half cinnamon sticks for flavor.

1.5/ 5

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