Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Review: The Purge (2013)

Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: James DeMonaco
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder
Writer: James DeMonaco

What could have been an excellent science fiction setting to really delve into questions of humanity and animalistic nature, is pretty much wasted on a fairly standard ‘hero’s under siege’ film. It’s the biggest problem with The Purge and one that I’m constantly reminded of when it starts to dips its toes into the darker pools. Still, disregarding the absolute waste of great potential, there is a fairly decent but flawed movie present.

At the beginning of the film we are given a quick guide to our family of heroes. Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey play the parental figures well enough; however they are never really given much to do. It’s the same story with both the children and the villain of the piece. Looking back now, not much actually happens, other than walking and talking. With the little that he’s given Rhys Wakefield does a great job as the leader of the killers. He’s polite, plays fair, grateful and absolutely bat-shit insane. I wanted more of him.

Hell I wanted more of everything, more action, more character development, more background knowledge, and more information on the purge itself. It’s like fast food; you can eat this good burger but a few minutes later realise that it wasn’t substantial at all and you want more. The Purge has some brilliant ideas, but I never felt like it was substantial.

Creepy masks for all!

When the action does start to occur, it’s actually pretty good. I was drawn in hoping that the family would survive the night’s horrors. The film also does a great job of having two twists. One which is advertised a lot and will draw your focus all so another, smaller twist can come along and stab you in the back. This one small twist gives a character better development in five minutes than the rest of the entire film.

After everything, the movie ends on a mellow note and pretty much does a good job of fading away. The Purge never does anything offensive and might be a good movie to watch on a slow weekend afternoon. Yet you can’t help but stare and wonder what could have been. Maybe one day a movie might revisit the idea’s presented here, but until then The Purge is all we have.

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