Monday, October 21, 2013

The Purge Movie Review – "Now Get the Hell Out of My House."

Runtime: 85 minutes
Release Date: June 7, 2013
Rating: R
Director: James DeMonaco

James (Ethan Hawke, "Gattica") is a salesman responsible for selling a large number of alarm systems around town. On his way home from work, he stops to talk to some of his neighbors, warning them to lock their doors and stay inside for the night. James lives in a time where unemployment rates are low and crime drops because of a night known as The Purge. For twelve hours every year, American citizens can go anything they want for those hours with no worries of what it might mean. Theft, rape, and even murder are all allowed.

James arrives home to his wife Mary, son Charlie, and teenage daughter Zoey. Mary lets him know that Zoey isn't happy with him making her end her relationship with a slightly older boy named Henry, and his son seems content to just play with a creepy radio controlleve vehicle he made from an old doll with a camera attached. While the family prepares to lock down their house for the night, Mary has an encounter with a neighbor who makes it clear they aren't happy with the family flaunting their new wealth. Zoey takes the time to make out with her boyfriend for a few minutes before sending him home for the night.

As they lock down the house, Charlie expresses some doubt and concern with what The Purge means. When he hears a man screaming for help outside and a pack of people following the man, he makes the decision to unlock the doors and let him inside. The pack then demands that they either release the man or they'll come inside and get him. James wants to send him on his way, but his family disagrees. It doesn't help that Zoey's boyfriend attempts to kill James, which leads to James killing him. While all this goes on, the people outside wait for help to arrive so they can break into the house.

The Purge is one of those movies that I wanted to see from the moment I watched the trailer, but now that I watched it, I'm glad I waited. It's one of those movies that you just want to watch as you scream at every character to stop being so fucking stupid. First, there's Charlie. He's clearly old enough that he's lived through multiple Purges, and he even mentions that they studied it in school. He knows how everything operates, but that doesn't stop him from opening the door to save a random stranger. Even when the people outside make it clear that they will kill him and his family, he thinks he needs to save that man.

Then, there's Zoey. Not only does she continue seeing a man her parents don't approve of and lets him sneak into her house, she doesn't notice the cryptic comments that make it clear he won't just walk away. Once the shootout with her father occurs, she spends most of the movie hiding upstairs and running around like a crazy person instead of taking the time to check on her family or even respond when her mother calls for her.

It doesn't help that Hawke is incredibly unlikeable in this movie. He is so smug that I wanted to punch him in the throat multiple times. He is always right, everyone else is wrong, and there's no middle ground. While I agree with his wishes to protect his family, he doesn't see anything wrong with bragging about how money he made that year and how their house is better than all the other houses in the neighborhood. He also doesn't take the time to let his family know that their alarm system isn't 100% safe until a threat arrives.

The Purge didn't have nearly as much action as I expected. The trailers made it seem like the plot involved a game of cat and mouse between a family and the people stalking them, but most of the good moments appeared in the trailer. There is also a "twist" that you must be blind not to notice. There is so much foreshadowing and mentions of the neighbors that most people will find themselves just waiting until the twist finally happens. Though interesting at times, The Purge didn't really make much of an impression on me.

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