Entertainment Magazine

Movie Review: The Purge

Posted on the 07 June 2013 by Sirmac2 @macthemovieguy


STARRING: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Edwin Hodge, Adelaide Kane, Rhys Wakefield, Arija Bareikis, Tony Oller.

WRITTEN BY: James DeMonaco

DIRECTED BY: James DeMonaco

Somewhere trapped within this film was a really good concept. The idea that in the near future (even if the film makes it TOO near), we will reach the point where violence in America coupled with the dominance of “the haves” will result in an event where one night a year we purge ourselves of poor people. Of course, the government can’t SAY that they’re authorizing the slaughter of homeless people, but that’s basically what happens.

Enter James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) as a man who has made millions selling home security systems to the rich, keeping them safe during The Purge. So he and his family hunker down during the purge, protected in their mini-mansion. The wife, Mary (Lena Headey) has almost no personality, or backstory. She’s a mom. Charlie (Max Burkholder) is a creepy looking kid, who loves his technology, and makes a terrible decision to let in a homeless man (Edwin Hodge), giving him sanctuary during The Purge. Zoey (Adelaide Kane) is the rebellious daughter, whose boyfriend (Tony Oller) has snuck in for The Purge so he can persuade James to let him date Zoey.  Let’s just say… he’s not a people person, and his “sales pitch” will surprise you.

Anyway, some rich yuppies wearing masks somehow figure out that the homeless man is hiding in the Sandin residence (apparently by going door to door). They tell James he has a short window of time to turn over the homeless guy before they come in. James and his family struggle with this concept, and they have no idea where the guy even is inside the house.

One of my biggest problems with this film is that considering the length (which moves along briskly somewhere between 1:20-1:25… not counting credits), the time the killers spend in the house is really short. Somewhere between 10-15 minutes. But, if you watch the trailer, they make it seem like most of the movie features these guys creeping around. It’s over so fast, and after all the build up, you’re left there going “that’s it?” There’s a decent twist at the end, that changes the game a bit, but otherwise, it’s a little like being promised sex, and then being told there isn’t any.

I don’t think the film was scary at all (except maybe the idea that this could be a reality), and it is due in part to the long path to the action parts of the film.  We start out introducing characters, and then the neighborhood, and then the concept of The Purge, and the boyfriend, and the start of the purge and some commentary on TV, and then the boyfriend interacts with James, then there’s a house search for Zoey (because apparently the house is so big, this takes forever), then the homeless guy shows up, then they look for the homeless guy, then the purge people finally show up… but they give James MORE TIME to look for the homeless guy before they break in,  and before you know it the movie is 2/3rds over. Luckily, the movie is so short, it’s impossible to be bored to tears, because you’re hoping for some serious action once the break-in happens, but that part is so short it doesn’t satisfy.

In short, a lot of people will be watching The Purge looking for some crazy action as promised in the trailer. You’re not getting it. This movie is setting out to make a point about people who have guns, and people who are rich, and the problem with letting that combination run this country. The director’s likely suggestion? We need to purge ourselves of rich people with guns. My suggestion? Purge this film from theatres and wait for DVD.


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