The Purge: Brilliance Just Out of Reach

poster1The Purge is set in the not too distant future in America where, under the “New Founding Fathers”, for 12 hours between June 7th and June 8th, all laws are suspended and all help withheld, allowing everyone the opportunity to purge their negative emotions on one day with the goal being that of maintaining low unemployment and crime levels throughout the rest of the year.

The film focuses upon security salesman James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) and his family who, alongside everyone in their neighbourhood, lock-down their houses until the Purge is over. However this time their son Charlie (Max Burkholder) lets a stranger (Edwin Hodge) into their house after he is seen in the street calling for help. This leads a group of masked individuals to the house demanding the stranger to be brought out so they can purge themselves. If they do not comply they will get in, and they will purge them all. The siege is on.

Right, now the obligatory description is out of the way, here comes the proper review of the film. Go and see this film. It is different and interesting to talk about in a pub in a “What would I do if it was me” scenario which is reason to watch it in itself. The concept is interesting and, to an extent, the finished article was well done. The filmed flowed from one event to another without any jerkiness or seemingly inexplicable events occurring that defied the films precepts.Lena Headley (as seen in Game of Thrones) as Mary Sandin wins best performer for this film, portraying the conflict of what is right and wrong with their actions with the most believability and summing up the metaphor of fearing of becoming those they hide from. Though, to be fair, Max Burkholder is not far behind her, also giving a sterling performance with only some moments that make you want to smack some sense into him, but that would be the directors, and not his fault. Charlie also controls Timmy which everyone will love. This is a fact.

Right now for the criticisms, as there are quite a few. Though a film that flowed well, it was a film that left many questions unanswered and left the audience gesturing violently at the screen (a mild term at best) as to “why the hell did that just happen?”. The purging strangers have masks on. Why? One could argue that it is scarier that way, but the film lacked fear entirely, so the masks seem quite redundant. Furthermore, wouldn’t it be more horrific if one saw the faces of your assailants merrily coming towards you with a machete in each hand delighting in your forthcoming death with blood-curdling screams? Also, their crimes are not illegal at this time, so there is no need to hide their faces. They can merrily murder mask free and it would have been much more believable. Seriously, the more I think about it, the more the masks make no particular sense whatsoever.

Also the daughter Zoey Sandin (Adelaide Kane) wanders the house alone while the siege in going on after (minor spoiler alert here) James shoot and kills her boyfriend after he pulls a gun on him. This produces the most gesturing and near shouting in a cinema as you feel this girl (although apparently a top student) purposefully separates herself from the family while the siege is going on. You feel bad but you almost wish at times she is shot at that moment for her sheer stupidity. There are so many more moments like this that make the film lose any real suspense as things become blatantly obvious and (major spoiler here) there is a plot twist, but if you don’t work this out in the first ten minutes then you may need your brain examined.

By all means go and see this, but seriously, The Purge is crying out for a remake with someone with better skill and imagination at the helm as James DeMonaco’s concept is superb, but not executed as well as it could have been. While you would keep Lena Headley for the remake, the film would need an entire overhaul for it to work. But it can work, and I implore any budding or exceptional well-renowned film directors who see this review: remake this film, it is worth it.

6 thoughts on “The Purge: Brilliance Just Out of Reach

  1. well, well, definitely a better review than mine. I applaud you for actually granting this film the time to write an actual review. All your points are extremely valid and I agree. What a crap film. A remake would be excellent but I read today that it made enough so a sequel might be in the works.


    1. Wow, thanks for the compliment but don’t beat yourself up too much, your review is very good. It’s gets to the nub of the massive issue that is this film very quickly and in an astute manner. God, I hope someone with a sense of direction takes this film and does something positive with it, because all I can see is me dropping the sequel into my mind’s pit of loathing should it fail to learn from its mistakes.


      1. To be honest. I don’t think it will. I think it belongs in your minds pit specifically because if it was in my pit then I would have to know each and every day that I forced myself to watch a sequel to an exceptionally shitty film that should not even grace anyone’s imaginative pit of loathing….Oh wait I can’t judge a film that hasn’t come out yet…..Oh that’s right, it’s the internet, I totally can!


  2. I have no problem for a reboot of this series, as I think a sequel will fail and it is only getting made due to the small budget it had and the colossal amount of money it made in comparison. However, if the sequel takes a fresh perspective on the concept, doesn’t involve the siege thing, and does, for the sake of argument, a journey from A to B, witnessing all the horrors which can come of this sort of night, then I could be up for the sequel. But then and only then, a repeat of the film as it is would just be awful. Oh, even though it is the internet and I do this on many occasions myself, never judge a film until it’s been seen. Then you can judge the hell out of it. But that’s just my philosophy on films, games and books.


  3. The Otaku Judge

    I would say the idea of a purge is unrealistic, but then again people going mental for one day does happen already during the Black Friday sales.


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