Monday, June 10, 2013

Dollar Bin(Not So)Splurge of the Week:The Purge(2013)

By Eric Polk-
Ahh, haven't done one of these in a month of Sundays-an actual movie review!I'm a big fan of dystopia, be it movies such as Soylent Green, original Planet of the Apes, Hardware or books including three of my personal favorites 1984, Brave New World, and It Can't Happen Here. Needless to say when I saw a preview for this IN THE FUTURE movie and realizing there were enough elements of horror that can justify this review on DBH, the Mrs. and I went to the drive-in.

It's the year 2022. The good ol' United States has become "a nation reborn", with crime and unemployment rates hitting an all-time low. To keep these rates low, the government has instated an annual 12-hour time period called "The Purge", during which people can vent their negative emotions because all crime (including murder) is legal and emergency services are suspended.(Btw, what's so new about that? Happens on the net all the time).

The movie focuses on James Sandin(played by Ethan Hawke) a wealthy home security developer. At home, mother and wife Mary Sandin struggles with her two children: teenage Zoey who is dating an older boy named Henry, while Charlie questions the need for the Purge.(Here comes the predictability). Beforehand,Mary speaks to her excitable neighbor, Grace, who explains that they aren't having their annual "purge party". When James arrives home, the family discusses why the Purge is an important part of society. So THE PURGE begins at 7 pm(I'm assuming it starts at 4 pm on the West Coast since this movie takes place in Virginia) and all is well in big, comfy suburbia when an injured homeless man runs down the street begging for help.

Guess who lets him in?!(Hint:it's the one who questions the need for THE PURGE). Needless to say, it pisses old papa off something fierce. As he searches for the man, it's revealed that(to my surprise) Henry is still in the house(gasp!).  Papa finds and holds the stranger at gunpoint, and at the same time Henry reveals himself and attempts to shoot James in order to maintain his relationship with Zoey. And(blah blah blah), stranger is shot.

Minutes later, a group of masked college students arrive up the street trace the stranger to the Sandin's home and address an ultimatum to the family through the surveillance system: hand the stranger over, their target, within the hour or they will break into the house and murder everyone inside.(Oh please don't succeed, that would really kill this by-the-numbers motif).

Well, as you can probably assume, this movie is predictable. From the moment the homeless man runs down the street to the twist(Hint:there's a reason why Grace didn't have a purge party), it's just one big whoopie-do. In addition, there is an underlying tension and suspense which goes out the window when the strangers attack. Don't get me wrong, the theme of haves and have-nots is rather solid. I wouldn't be surprised if Rush Limbaugh declares The Purge as a war on conservatives(I'd be even more surprised if El Rushbo  declares his radio show as a war against intelligence). Anyway, this movie does bring up the idea of what if we could trade liberty for comfort and safety. In today's world, it's becoming more and more of a possibility.

1 comment:

Slaughter Film said...

I agree with your overall opinion of the film, but I see the Have vs Have Nots as little to do with the whole of the story. Yes, the rich can afford to protect themselves, making the poor natural targets, I agree. But when Hawke's family is attacked by other rich people [and not all of them white], it becomes more of a reflection on us as violent and petty creatures rather than "well to do" or not.

I think that's my main problem with this flick. While the premise is pretty interesting, the movies tries to say too much about too many things and the whole thing gets murky. That and it's predictable and sorta weird in spots. - Cory