Does anyone remember the short story called The Lottery? It was required reading when I was in school. To sum it up, this town hosts a lottery and the person who 'wins' is killed by the town folk. A means of culling the heard. I want to say I read this in elementary, but that seems odd. It was probably junior high. Regardless of when I first saw it, the story always stuck with me.
And that is what this next movie reminded me of.
Title: The Purge
Synopsis: In the future, a wealthy family is held hostage for harbouring the target of a murderous syndicate during the Purge, a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legalized.
Tagline: Have a safe night.
This is not a bad movie. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. That said, I can enjoy terrible movies, but I still recognize them as terrible. So, to be fair to honest to goodness movie goers who are determined to watch a great movie and cut out all the crap. I will be honest.
One thing makes this movie good. The idea behind it. On one night a year all crime is legal. There will be no police, fire or ambulances. For 12 hours, you can basically do whatever you please. Except survive, apparently it isn't your right to survive. Not for these 12 hours.
While the main plot is pretty awesome, and reminded me of the lottery, I think the writer simply forgot to include all the other important things, like how the Purge came to be, how is it legal to kill tourists from another country, what is the blow back from this, who sanctioned it and why are the higher ranked government officials off limits. Those people, if no one else, should be purged.
The acting isn't bad, but the characters are clichéd. The cast is good, but the dialogue sucks. The idea is good, but the movie lacks substance. There is a twist, but they gave too much away in the beginning so it wasn't much of a surprise. Someone dies, but the ending truly is predictable.
And then there is the idea that people have to kill. That there is this insatiable urge inside us, our animalistic nature tempting us to maim, hurt, kill, rape. In reality, I think there is a very small part of the population that have the desire to do these things.
At the end of the movie, I pretty much came to the conclusion that elitist pricks came up with the idea of the Purge in order to weed out the poor. While the people with money hole themselves up in their expensive homes, the homeless and unwealthy are left to be picked apart by the sadistic part of society who are out to shed some blood.
Here's what the movie doesn't explain - crimes of passion. Though, I suppose, if a wife caught her husband cheating, instead of shooting him on the spot, she might just wait until March 21st to pull the trigger. Because the murdering, raping, pillaging types are always the most rational.
I waited a long time to see this movie. The idea excited me. And I did enjoy it. People wearing masks always freak me out. This review kind of sucks and that's because I truly feel I could have done this movie justice as a writer. The kids were a nice touch, but it would have been awesome to have them know the daughter, or to even have the daughter involved in her boyfriend trying to kill the father. The neighbours were a nice little taste of the true feelings behind the Purge, but I would have brought it to the forefront, not foreshadowed as much. I would have showed the Purge party, explained how people get prepared for it. In the end, I think the movie would have been way better following a family intent on participating IN the Purge, their reasons why and how it turns out. Even the group of kids, having them in school the day before, preparing, selecting the homeless dude and why they feel safe roaming the streets when anyone could shoot them.
I am working myself up here. It's time to step away.
Go ahead and watch The Purge, but follow it up with Daybreakers, a truly epic Ethan Hawke movie.