I must admit, The Purge is the worst movie I have seen this year! I am actually glad I did not go to the cinema to watch this as I had originally planned to. When the Blue-ray came out last week, I set aside some time this Sunday to watch the film. Here is my review of it (full of spoilers).
The story itself could be quite thought provoking about social allegory our American future where the country is crime free for 364 days of the year. On one night, there is no law and everything is legal – including murder. People bundle up their hatred and malice the whole year and then unleash it on that night and kill. This apparently cleanses the souls and leaves Americans free to live the rest of the year with out committing crimes.
The premise however is not solid enough. The viewer is not given sufficient social context to understand the Purge and have an opinion of it – either for or against. With out buying into the core concept of the film, the viewer would not follow the narrative.
The story centers around the Sandin family headed by James Sandin Ethan Hawke, his wife (Lena Headey), a dopey looking son (Max Burkholder) and a horny daughter (Adelaide Kane). Ethan and Lena are good actors and I have seen them do well on screen. But in this movie, I hated Ethan. He looked like shit and acted even worse!
On the Purge day, after their home security system has been switched on, their dopey 12 year old son disarms the system and allows a homeless guy on the run from a group of preppies out to purge him. This is where I just threw up my hands in the air and cursed out aloud! So the purge has been going for a number of years and this stupid boy was old enough to know what it meant. His father was in the business of providing security systems protecting people from the purge miscreants and yet, he has such a moral sense that he jeopardises the home security to let this guy in!
The preppies then arrive at the house to demand the release of the homeless guy so they can kill him. The lead purger of this pathetic group of would be killers (played by Rhys Wakefield) must have watched Batman Returns over a 100 times to learn the mannerisms of Heath Ledger. To drive home the point, this guy is seen wearing a private college blazer with a crest insignia!
The film was poorly direct by James DeMonaco with so much of the action and sequences looking painfully staged. Not once, twice or thrice but on more than five occasions, you get the edge of the seat kind of situation when one of the Sandin family members is about to be killed and some one else would shoot the perpetuator. Each time one of the masked miscreant raises a knife or gun to kill one of the family members, they get shot at the last opssible second. By the third time I was screaming abuses at the TV!
There are so many gaping holes in the plot. The characters are wooden and look stupid but talk big game when it comes to morality. In the pivotal scene, Ethan is tying up the homeless guy to a chair so he can be handed over to the killers outside the house. Lena stops him and asks him to look at himself and what he has become. I mean, please! She talking morals when there is a killer mob outside the house threatening to kill the whole family!
Not to flog a dead horse any more, I will conclude this review by saying that if there is one movie to avoid in March, this will be it! Even with suspended disbelief, you will find it very hard to get through the 85 minutes of this B-grade home invasion movie.