‘The Purge’ review

Posted: June 24, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

Home invasion thrillers are often rushed and and anti-climatic.  Films such as Panic Room, The Strangers, and Vacancy are the exception to the rule.  More often than not with a home invasion movie you get an unsuspecting family that is put on the ropes after someone/people enter their home and are forced to fight for their lives. 

With The Purge you know what you’re getting right off the bat.  It’s a film with the premise that one night a year – for 12 hours – the United States government has sanctioned murder as a legal operation.  The Purge stars Ethan Hawk as James Sandin, a wealthy father of two who made his money by selling security systems designed explicitly for the Purge, to other wealthy families.   James, along with his wife Mary (Lena Headey), are supporters of the Purge.  They place blue flowers outside of their door to signify their support.  I guess that’s meant to be a deterrent to others who may want to harm them.  That part is never really explained.  

Things go south when James’ son, Charlie (Max Burkholder – Parenthood), decides to harbor a homeless man being hunted by other “Purgers”.  The group hunting the homeless man realize that he’s being kept inside the Sandin residence and decide they are going to kill everyone inside, not just the homeless guy. 

The movie quickly turns from suspense thriller to revenge flick in a matter of moments when James Sandin decides he’s not going to let just anyone stroll into his home and harm his family.   What plays out the rest of the film is parts Ethan Hawke being a badass and a twist you could have seen coming a mile away. 

The film tries to make an intelligent point that the socially inclined, minority wealthy are entitled to purge their desires to kill one day a year, but your moral compass is still there.  However, the film – which runs only at an hour and twenty-five minutes, never takes the time to flesh out its characters and explain to us why these people would want to kill in the first place.  It’s almost as if the writers wanted the audience to assume that all wealthy people have an urge to kill but are suppressed by the fact that they have money, in which case money rules all.

Either way, if you’re destined to see one suspense flick a year – much like a purge – you may want to avoid this one.


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